Los Angeles Valley College Art Appreciation Response
- June 22, 2022/ Uncategorized
I’m working on a art writing question and need an explanation and answer to help me learn.
Humans have an uncanny desire to represent ourselves. This assignment challenges you to think about how we approach asking questions about sculptural works.
In a single response of at least 150 words, answer the following questions:
- This sculpture presents the Hindu god Shiva as the Lord of the Dance. What do you notice about the figure’s pose? Why do you think the artist chose to capture this moment?
- Use your hands and arms to recreate the pose of the lower left and right arm. What comes to mind as you make these gestures? In Hindu art and dance, hand gestures called mudras communicate ideas to the viewer. The examples we see here are designed to allay fear (left) and offer refuge (right).
- Look closely at the accessories the figure is wearing and holding. What do you notice? What might these objects represent?
- Now that you’ve had an opportunity to consider the figure, let’s examine its context within the composition. What do you notice? What does this add to your understanding?
- The figure Shiva stands upon a dwarflike demon, who represents human ignorance and leads people astray. What aspects of daily life might distract someone from a spiritual path?
- Shiva is known as a creator, protector, and destroyer. What evidence of each role can you find in the sculpture?
Having completed the first exercise, it’s now time for you to ask the questions. Create 6-7 unique questions which will help a viewer come to understand the importance and/or meaning of the ancient Egyptian sculpture Menkaure and Khamerernebty. First, read the below briefing about the artwork.
Menkaure and Khamerernebty
“Especially in early sculpture, the figures depicted were reserved for those in power. In ancient Egypt, the ruling pharaoh and his wife, Menkaure and Khamerernebty (Links to an external site.) (ca. 2490-2472 BCE), depicted themselves in greywacke stone.
The two are represented idealized with youthful bodies. Both figures are engaged to a stone behind them, reinforcing their structural integrity. They stride forward with one foot ahead, yet the bodies overall remain fairly static. Menkaure’s wife, Khamerernebty, touches his arm in a formalized gesture showing that they belong together. We previously discussed the idea of ka, the spirit which would reside on earth. The ka was believed to reside in statues of the deceased, so the integrity any sculpture of the deceased was important to maintain. In fact, this explains the entire cult of the dead in ancient Egypt.”
In Part II, you’re tasked with creating your own unique set of questions which you feel will help a viewer seeing the sculpture for the first time. Imagine writing these questions for a high school student. The questions should engage with cultural context, composition, symbols, and one question must discuss the sculptural method of creating the work.
Tip: Notice in Part I how each question provides some context about the work, whether about the symbol or emphasizing the importance of gesture. Consider utilizing this method in the questions you write.