Discussion: rulers and their portraits

http://www.bbc.co.uk/ahistoryoftheworld/objects/rxxK1FgBQNSsipmXhCIAXQ

 

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Discussion: rulers and their portraits

While discussing  the Olmec Stone Mask, MacGregor mentions another carving from the same site, the colossal Olmec head:

Discussion: rulers and their portraits

He notes that it is in a rather similar style,   “simplified and schematized, somewhere between minimalism and an abstraction.”

MacGregor is talking about the style of these two Olmec pieces.   Paying attention to style is crucial in art history.   By style, art historians mean the way something is depicted (as opposed to what is depicted.)

Note that MacGregor is referring to something visible in the carving.  We should not be taking his word for it–we should be able to see it, too.

point out something in the Olmec Stone Mask that looks simplified, schematized, abstract or minimal.   Be quite specific in explaining what you are talking about–you can’t assume that we all think the same bit of it is the nose, for example.

And here is an alternate task: Point out something about the Olmec mask that is in a naturalistic style.  But don’t repeat what McGregor has already pointed out.

Teotihuacan temple-pyramid

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From La Venta in Mexico, where you have seen the heads, and masks we move further inland closer to present day Mexico City, namely to the site of one of the largest and densely populated Pre-Classical metropolis that fulfilled a central civic, economic, and religious role for the region and indeed for much of Mesoamerica.  Laid out in a grid pattern with the axes oriented according to astronomical entities, such as the moon and

After you read the links from Metropolitan Museum of art below, I’d like you to consider the role of astronomy and the feathered serpent god, Quetzatcoatl.   This will be the topic for our observation Discussion this week. We will revisit the relationship between gods, goddesses and Mesoamerican ruling strategies practiced by spiritual/political leaders again.

 

http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/teot/hd_teot.htm

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http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/teot2/hd_teot2.htm

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http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/teot3/hd_teot3.htm

 

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http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/teot4/hd_teot4.htm

 

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