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The Depiction Of Human Form From The Paleolithic Art

Different cultures portray the world in different ways using imagination and art. Importantly, the sculpture is an essential constituent of the art in general and reflects the way of life of different nations, their beliefs and traditions. Present analysis shows the similarities and differences of such periods of history as Paleolithic era, Ancient Egypt, Cycladic civilization, and gives the brief description of each of the art works performed in these epochs.

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Researchers might have happened never to discern the cultural connotation of the images under discussion. However, according to archaeologists, these figures could be associated with safety measures and victory symbols, fertility icons, or straight delineation of the deity mother (Kleiner, 2009). The female statue, as an element of the Upper Paleolithic sculpture, appears in the art of this period, though it did not represent a utility useful for the survival. This type of art was often discovered in residence conditions, both in caves and open-air sites; burial environments appeared much rarer. Surplus weight of the female figure depicted in the given sculpture might symbolize fertility, abundance, and safety. The fact that this  huge-breasted, often pregnant sculpture can be found all over a broad region and had been created for an extended historical period means that it represents a prototype of a feminine supreme maker. People probably worshipped the feminine as a maker inherently connected to the cycles of temperament. Besides, women delivered babies and their menstruation cycles allied with metonic cycles

Over the last 30,000 years the feminine figures composed the vast majority of the sculptures uncovered. The image of a nude woman accentuated the body parts responsible for reproduction and childbearing. For instance, leading investigators interpret the Venus of Willendorf as a fertility deity (Kleiner, 2009). The sculpture does not contain any visible face. Some researchers argue that the face is the key feature to human identity and that the absence of a face in the figure symbolizes that it is not a representation of a definite person. The image is rather a depiction of an unspecified sexual object.  In addition, the well fleshed body, as well as its fertility symbolism has significant nature.

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The image contains spherical flat bands of what seems to be lines of plaited hair covering the head of female figure. The manner in which the woman is performed seems to indicate pregnancy. The woman’s hair appears to be braided in one unbroken long tress and wrapped up around her skull, though practically there are seven concentric flat bands surrounding her head. Most Paleolithic sculptures do not put particular symbolism in the hair, basically being intent on the nudity of the female. Later cultures considered hair as vigor and the soul’s location (Kleiner, 2009). Additionally, the hair image has a rich history as a symbol of erotic desirability. This, in turn, demonstrates the real relations of this sculpture to the figure of fertility.

This sculpture is one of the earliest works of art on the mankind account and was extremely popular among the gatherers and hunters. They lived at the time when the climate was rather harsh as compared with contemporary world; it was likely to be the ending of the Ice Age. The woman’s body size made her extremely attractive at that period of history due to the severe conditions and low living standards. In those days, reproduction was the most imperative thing. As a result, the body, breasts and private parts of the woman were of much significance to the artist while painting this sculpture. Researchers indicate that the statuette was made in between 24,000 and the 22,000 BCE, although this work of art had not been discovered until 1908. It was found in the mine near Willendorf, a town in Lower Austria. The figure was carved with oolitic limestone and painted with red ochre (Kleiner, 2009).

Another example of the female sculpture is the Nefertiti bust. The work remarkably exemplifies the view of the Ancient Egyptians of an ideal of female beauty. Nefertiti is depicted on a piece of limestone. She wears unique tall crown that frames her beautiful face (Kleiner, 2009). Specific preservation of the beautiful colors contracting with brown face of the woman and crown jewels make this sculpture a unique art work.  Full red lips underline Nefertiti’s grace. Nefertiti’s elegant stretched out neck weighs up the lofty, flat-top crown which garnishes her glossy head. Although everything was carved very precisely, the only defect found is a wrecked left ear. Since this remarkable figurine still exists, Nefertiti is considered the most gorgeous female in the globe. Analyzing the given bust, one can trace the change of woman beauty standards coming with a new epoch. Historical, political and cultural situation of the Ancient Egypt greatly differed from those in the Paleolithic era, and, along with this, the image of woman, domestic goddess and mother also varied.

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The Keros harpist, one of the most significant sculptures of the Cycladic civilization, represents a man playing for the dead in the afterlife.  The figurine is performed in simple arithmetical forms.  This statuette together with the figure of flutist was put in the tomb, maybe as a symbol of the supporting music to the dead (Kleiner, 2009). The musician attentively holds his instrument resembling lyre or harp in the hand. The harp symbolized Mesopotamia (contemporary Egypt), and at the top of its resonance box there is a swan-head or duck-bill adornment. Cycladic sculptures are supposed to have been used both during life and death, though the purposes of these figurines remain obscene.

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