Category Archives: sculpture

Ancient Egypt Arts

Ancient Egyptian art is highly symbolic and merges abstract style with naturalism. This post serves as an overview of the many phases and transitions of ancient Egyptian art, mostly concentrating on styles of art between 3000 BC and 300 AD.

At this time, art was not just a compliment to function. The main motive for art creation was to assist survival. In this sense, it was a tool for explaining life and teaching survival skills to those who lived in a time before written words.

One of the best examples of survival art comes from ancient Egypt. Painting, sculpture and architecture mostly originated along the Nile River, where quality of life was dictated by the river. To simplify this: life was good when the river flooded and bad when it dried up. The effects of these conditions were evident in various art forms of ancient Egypt. Stories about prosperity and famine were told through hieroglyphics that were either carved or painted onto walls.

Painting

Hieroglyphics are also called pictographs. They were carved into walls, sandstone, quarts, and granite. In other circumstances they were drawn onto papyrus, the Egyptian form of paper.

These markings were symbols of the unfolding history in Egypt. In fact, artists worked with the intention of preservation, in addition to making survival tactics known.

However, these pictures were unique in the sense that they often merged animals and people. For some time, ancient Egyptian art showed humans as stick figures but put much detail into depicting animals. This heighten state of symbolism allows researchers and historians to better understand the psychology of ancient Egyptian culture.

Sculpture

One insight about art from ancient Egypt is that there is a “form follows function” mentality. While detail was important in engravings, works of sculpture were abstract. Objects of focus were more geometric.

For instance, in some of the earliest sculptures, women were often shaped round because of their status as “child bearers.” Men took on a more true-to-life look because of their ability to hunt, gather and lead.

In both types of sculptures, a subtractive method of carving was used, meaning the objects had no faces or just simple features. This is especially apparent in later sculptures which made men and women indistinguishable.

Ancient Egyptian sculptures weren’t about the represented object; they served as history records as well as symbols of eternity. In fact, the “ka statue” was crafted with the intention of being a resting place for the spirit of an individual after he (which was more common than she) past onto the next life.

Architecture

Many Egyptian artifacts exist today, but one of the most significant surviving masterpieces of ancient Egyptian art are the pyramids. They were built during the time of the Old Kingdom, but lacked a stability necessary to keep thieves away. However, not only were the structures fascinating, they were also decorated with symbolic carvings on the outside walls.

Another form of architecture after the pyramid was the funerary temple. Because of it’s geometric form and use of columns, these were considered innovative works of art. Also, many temples had frescoes painted on top of dry (and sometimes wet) plaster to make the art and structure more durable.

Aside from that it was a place where the pharaoh would go to worship his (or her) god. When that individual passed away, others would go to that temple to worship the late pharaoh.

The art of ancient Egypt ushered in a time of reigning power in Greece, which continued to influence art in culture, allowing paintings, statues and architecture to further evolve.

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Exploring Chicago’s Sculptures

Is there anything more majestic than a sculpture? Many people would agree that sculptures have the perfect combination of beauty, balance, stateliness, and solidity. Rich in art and culture, Chicago has one of the most impressive arrays of sculptures of any location on earth. Let’s explore Chicago’s sumptuous offering of sculpture art.

Located in Chicago’s Jackson Park, the Statue of the Republic was created in 1918 by Daniel Chester French. The 24 feet high sculpture was crafted of gilded bronze and made in celebration of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition’s 25th anniversary. Funded by Benjamin Ferguson, the Statue of the Republic is fondly known by most Chicagoans as “The Golden Lady.”

Fountain of Time, a sculpture nestled in Washington Park, was created by Lorado Taft and dedicated to Chicago in 1922. Molded of concrete reinforced by steel, Fountain of Time features various figures being hovered over by Father Time. The celebratory sculpture was created after Great Britain and the United States had experienced 100 years of peace.

The Bowman and the Spearman, sculpted by Ivan Mestrovic, are located in Grant Park. Two separate sculptures, The Bowman and the Spearman have been watching over Congress Plaza since 1928. The pieces of art were designed to honor Native Americans and their unique struggles. The Bowman and the Spearman were cast in Yugoslavia and later brought to the United States to be settled in Chicago.

Ceres, the mythical Roman goddess of grain, was crafted of aluminum by John Storrs and has been a permanent fixture atop Chicago’s Board of Trade Building since 1930. Ceres clutches a sack of corn in her right hand and a sheaf of wheat in her left. Storrs masterpiece weighs 6,500 pounds and signifies the commodities market.

The Picasso, a sculpture created by Pablo Picasso himself, was settled in Chicago’s Daley Plaza in 1967. Surprisingly, the Picasso is not a hands-off piece of artwork. Chicagoans often use it as a slide or something to climb on. The Picasso weighs an astounding 162 tons.

While Chicago boasts numerous exquisite pieces of priceless artwork, its presentation of sculpture art is perhaps the most grand of all its attractions, drawing in visitors from all over the world. Have you explored Chicago’s sculptures lately?

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“Morbid Curiosity”–A Chicago Cultural Center Exhibit

The Chicago Cultural Center opened a very unique and intense art exhibit in January called “Morbid Curiosity.” The exhibit is truly unique because it showcases the work not of a singular artist, but of a collector. The art exhibit is extremely intense because its theme is death.

Richard Harris has spent twelve years collecting pieces of art that convey the many themes of death. The Chicago Cultural Center has over 1,000 of Harris’s pieces on display–they include artifacts, photographs, and decorative objects.

Surprisingly, this is only a portion of the pieces that Harris has collected over the years. His entire collection of death-related art totals more than 1,500 pieces. The museum’s curators, alongside Harris, created a replica of the Cultural Center in order to choose which pieces should be included and how they should be exhibited. Several practice runs led to the many-roomed “Morbid Curiosity” exhibit.

The goal of the exhibit is to address the many facets of death. One entire section of the Chicago Cultural Center is devoted to Mexico’s Day of the Dead. This portion of the exhibit contains a funeral procession of death-related artwork including altar paintings, drawings, and photography.

Another room offers a religious perspective on death. Christian and Catholic artwork provides a foundation on which to examine the common fate we all share in our relationship with death. Artistic images are used to relate the concept of death to the individual.

One room in the Chicago Cultural Center has been affectionately dubbed “the war room” and contains pieces of art that reflect the toll that human action, particularly war, can have on human life.

The exhibit also includes a 13 foot chandelier made of 3,000 plaster bones, 50 photographs, dozens of skulls, real and artistic representations, and Japanese pieces of art made from bone.

Be warned–this exhibit is not for the squeamish. However, “Morbid Curiosity” is perhaps the most suitable name for this exhibit. After all, death may very well be the single thing we all have in common. Richard Harris, along with the Chicago Cultural Center, has afforded us the opportunity to examine how different cultures, religions, and individual actions relate to death. The exhibit ends in July.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/ct-ent-0126-museums-morbid-20120125,0,7002015.story

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Art Alive

If you’ve never been to the San Diego Museum of Art for their yearly event, Art Alive, this is the year you should participate. The San Diego Museum of Art challenges floral designers to make the artistic masterpieces housed in their museum come alive through their floral interpretations. This four day event, beginning April 12 and ending on April 15, will fill the museum with thousands of flowers and, hopefully, thousands of visitors. The pictures in this blog post are examples of what you can expect to see at Art Alive.

Floral designers of all levels, from amateur to professional, gather at the museum to create floral sculptures that mimic famous pieces of art. The sculptures of flower arrangements depict images painted on canvas, from portraits to landscapes. Throughout the four day-long festivities, these living floral arrangements will be placed beside the famous pieces of art they are interpreting.

The museum’s masterpieces truly come alive as they are interpreted by these creative floral designers. You will be surprised and delighted to see how imagination comes alive when flowers meet with paint. The floral designers make use of light, color, and structural ingenuity to make these canvas paintings take on a new dimension. Art Alive celebrates artistic masterpieces of all types.

The four day-long event will be packed with activities. The event begins with an opening celebration on April 12 and includes a dinner for guests and a sneak peek at the Art Alive floral designs with their painted counterparts. The exhibition is open to the public beginning April 13. The Art Alive exhibition will also included fun events for children and families. These events will be geared towards the idea that art is alive.

Flowers After Hours is another nighttime event in which guests can peruse the floral art exhibit while sampling tasty hors d’oeuvres and drinks. Behind the scenes, these floral designers are competing hard to create their own artistic masterpieces inspired by the famous works located at the San Diego Museum of Art.

If you plan on visiting the Art Alive exhibit at the San Diego Museum of Art, be prepared to pay an entry fee. Rest assured that this fee is going to a good cause–Art Alive is one of the museum’s greatest fundraising events. The proceeds will go towards special exhibitions, educational outreach programs, and art conservation projects.

Can you imagine a more perfect way to usher in Spring?

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Art in Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egyptian art is highly symbolic and merges abstract style with naturalism. This post serves as an overview of the many phases and transitions of ancient Egyptian art, mostly concentrating on styles of art between 3000 BC and 300 AD.

At this time, art was not just a compliment to function. The main motive for art creation was to assist survival. In this sense, it was a tool for explaining life and teaching survival skills to those who lived in a time before written words.

One of the best examples of survival art comes from ancient Egypt. Painting, sculpture and architecture mostly originated along the Nile River, where quality of life was dictated by the river. To simplify this: life was good when the river flooded and bad when it dried up. The effects of these conditions were evident in various art forms of ancient Egypt. Stories about prosperity and famine were told through hieroglyphics that were either carved or painted onto walls.

Painting

Hieroglyphics are also called pictographs. They were carved into walls, sandstone, quarts, and granite. In other circumstances they were drawn onto papyrus, the Egyptian form of paper.

These markings were symbols of the unfolding history in Egypt. In fact, artists worked with the intention of preservation, in addition to making survival tactics known.

However, these pictures were unique in the sense that they often merged animals and people. For some time, ancient Egyptian art showed humans as stick figures but put much detail into depicting animals. This heighten state of symbolism allows researchers and historians to better understand the  psychology of ancient Egyptian culture.

Sculpture

One insight about art from ancient Egypt is that there is a “form follows function” mentality. While detail was important in engravings, works of sculpture were abstract. Objects of focus were more geometric.

For instance, in some of the earliest sculptures, women were often shaped round because of their status as “child bearers.” Men took on a more true-to-life look because of their ability to hunt, gather and lead.

In both types of sculptures, a subtractive method of carving was used, meaning the objects had no faces or just simple features. This is especially apparent in later sculptures which made men and women indistinguishable.

Ancient Egyptian sculptures weren’t about the represented object; they served as history records as well as symbols of eternity. In fact, the “ka statue” was crafted with the intention of being a resting place for the spirit of an individual after he (which was more common than she) past onto the next life.

Architecture

Ancient Egyptian ArchitectureMany Egyptian artifacts exist today, but one of the most significant surviving masterpieces of ancient Egyptian art are the pyramids. They were built during the time of the Old Kingdom, but lacked a stability necessary to keep thieves away. However, not only were the structures fascinating, they were also decorated with symbolic carvings on the outside walls.

Another form of architecture after the pyramid was the funerary temple. Because of it’s geometric form and use of columns, these were considered innovative works of art. Also, many temples had frescoes painted on top of dry (and sometimes wet) plaster to make the art and structure more durable.

Aside from that it was a place where the pharaoh would go to worship his (or her) god. When that individual passed away, others would go to that temple to worship the late pharaoh.

The art of ancient Egypt ushered in a time of reigning power in Greece, which continued to influence art in culture, allowing paintings, statues and architecture to further evolve.

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Glass Art

Robert Kaindl Giant Ostrea Bowls Glass Art

Many beautiful art sculptures are not found in marble or formed from clay; glass blowing is an art technique that creates three-dimensional masterpieces all its own.

In addition, other forms of glass art include stained glass, bead-making, and casting (or molten glass molding). Some of the most dramatic and imaginative pieces, however, are 3-D studio glass work.

Studio glass is more than a technique; it was an art movement in the 1960s. The studio glass movement started when a ceramics professor and chemist came together at the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio. Together they presented the idea of melting glass in a small furnace. These furnaces were so small that artists could have them set up in their personal studios. This allowed the individuality of artists to thrive within a technical art form.

However, glass blowing is not an easy task. It can take up to 3 furnaces, a number of tools and years of practice to perfect the art. To put it simply, forming the fragile substance involves inflating molten glass that has been heated to a liquid and then gathering it on a long wand. That extended tool is used to blow the glass into a workable bubble. After that, special tools shape the glass.

To make the piece dynamic, color is added. Most commonly, glassblowers (also known as gaffers) start with clear glass and add a colorful piece of glass to create the final product. This occurs after the bubble of glass is blown and shaped. A separate colored glass is fused to become apart of the whole piece. Another way to add color is by dipping or rolling clear glass into broken-shards of already colored glass. Although individuals have different techniques to how they create their works of art, this is the basic methodology.

In fact, the art of glass blowing has changed numerous times since its invention over 2,000 years ago. The creative art form began in the 1st century B.C.E. in the Roman Empire. Such advanced technology, as the creation of 3-D glass art motivated the spread of dominance because of this and other intelligence. It was encouraged in most areas of Rome, especially on the eastern borders of the Empire. Remnants of the earliest glass workshops are believed to have been found in modern day Lebanon, Israel and Palestine, as well as nearby Cyprus.

To this day, art blowing is used to create art and other objects for daily use. Some of these useful decorations include vases, lamps, bowls and ornaments. It’s not uncommon to see art exhibits that feature blown glass in a variety of shapes and colors. When considering the technique, it becomes clear that no two pieces of glass art are alike. The process and artist make each final product unique.

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Bauhaus Art School

Are you impressed to learn about the invention of Op-Art?

The modern art style, best associated with the art and theory of Josef Albers, influenced an artistic evolution throughout the 20th century, and continues to impact the 21st century as well.

But did you know that this trendy new art form started in Germany in the early 1900’s? Even more, it was created and taught at a school that was also a forerunner for architecture, graphic design, interior design, industrial design, and typography.

The famous school of art, called Bauhaus, existed in three different parts of Germany between the years of 1919 and 1933. This seems like a short period of time to have such a strong influence on the world. However, the principal thoughts and practices that encouraged artists at Bauhaus traveled with them and spread throughout the world when many of the practicing students and teachers had to emigrate during Nazi control.

The Bauhaus art school was known as a “House of Construction” or a “School of Building.” Even though studies in architecture were not implemented until later, the school built its values on the idea that creating a “total” work of art incorporates multiple elements of art.

A good example of this is optical art’s use of three types of elements: optical illusions, canvas painting, and color. Perhaps it was this concept of completeness that catapulted the Bauhaus style into success, becoming one of the most influential styles in modern art, design and architecture.

Another thought that contributed to the success of Bauhaus was the founding philosophical principle of constructivism. This term originated in Russia and commonly associated with the idea that art could contribute to a better society. With major political and economic shifts happening all over the world, especially in Europe, people learned they could express themselves and propel a positive message with art. Even though there was a negative atmosphere in the world during the time of World War I and leading up to World War II, individual artists knew that art had the power to carry the significant message of peace.

In a war-torn society, Bauhaus school had much to teach. Here are some common art forms that excelled and were mastered by artists at the school between 1919 and 1933:

  • Woodworking
  • Cabinetmaking
  • Work with Metal
  • Ceramics
  • Weaving
  • Printing and typography
  • Theater
  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Photography
  • Architecture
Bauhaus art school existed at a poignant time in history. It’s location in the world and foundational European thought are two of the many reasons why it is still a reputable resource for art history today. The other reasons are artists, styles and creations that were consistently produced by the school. These are the pieces that influence modern art today, and will continue to do so evermore.