Showing posts with label sculpture. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sculpture. Show all posts


Zeus Ammon at the Met: A Greek-Egyptian Syncretism in Stone

🏛️ Museum Musings 🏛️ I'm at the Metropolitan Museum of Art today.
Just laid eyes on the fascinating 2nd-century bust of ‘Zeus Ammon’ and I can’t help but marvel at the blend of cultures captured in stone. As expected, you’ll find the grandeur and aesthetic of Classical Greece, but what truly captivates is the god’s syncretic figuration as the Egyptian god Ammon—notice the distinctive ram’s horns!

With the great temple of Zeus at Olympia lost to time, pieces like this offer a glimpse into how the supreme ruler of the Olympians was once revered. It’s an extraordinary testament to the interconnectedness of ancient civilizations. 
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Alexander the Great's Portrait at British Museum: Deification & Legacy in Art

Hey, y’all. I’m in the British Museum. This marble portrait represents Alexander the Great and dates back to the 2nd century B.C.E. 
Alexander, a master of propaganda, meticulously managed the various depictions of his likeness across his empire. He entrusted the production of his image exclusively to a select group of sculptors and painters. These artists depicted him as youthful, with a clean-shaven face, long hair, and a dynamic pose characterized by a turning head. This style of portraiture was somewhat adopted by Alexander’s successors, but it exerted a more significant influence on the portraits of later Hellenistic kings and private individuals. Alexander was deified during his lifetime, and following his death, he was venerated as a god in images like this one.
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Sully Wing Secrets: Louvre's Greek and Egyptian Wonders

Discover a teacher's unique Louvre encounters, from Greek beauty to Egyptian relics. Explore beyond Mona Lisa to uncover the Louvre's heart.

Louvre Museum. Apollon Sauroctone. 2nd quarter 1st century A.D., Italy. Louvre, Department of Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities, Sully wing, ground floor, room 344, item Ma 441.
(2) Apollon Sauroctone
Narcisse (Type, Original en Bronze) - Éphèbe (Boucle, Court, Nu, Appuyé, Sur Pilier, Bas). 2nd century A.D., Basse Égypte. Louvre, Department of Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities, Sully wing, ground floor, room 344, item Ma 457.
(1) Éphèbe
You can't expect to tour the Louvre and see it all. I've visited the museum three times; most recently this past February as a high school English teacher on a London and Paris school trip. My previous visits were in 2000 and 2001 as a college student. During the first of those trips, I explored the Denon wing, which houses the Louvre's iconic treasures — the Mona Lisa, the Winged Victory of Samothrace, the Coronation of Napoleon, and all those wonderful works of art. I was in awe, though I do recall the Mona Lisa looking more like a postcard (she still does, but we adore you, La Joconde!).

On this third visit, I began in the basement of the Sully wing and worked my way up, which proved to be immensely rewarding. And I did not even catch nary a glimpse of Leonardo's lady nor did I see the Nike (they live in my heart). Where the Éphèbe (1) and Apollo Sauroctone (2) reside is a vast collection of Greco-Roman sculpture, including the Venus de Milo. I was struck by the youthful Narcissus, whom I initially mistook for an athlete — he epitomizes Greek beauty and the stylized classical loveliness associated with the young and svelte. Similarly, there is the Apollo — it seems the gods enjoyed odd, vain acts like slaying lizards — apparently, this depicts Apollo as a protector. I had some knowledge of this piece prior to my visit, so seeing it in person was a delight.

Deep in the Sully wing lie the remnants of the Louvre's past life as a fortress before it became a royal palace and now a museum. The dungeon, curiously, serves as the storage for artifacts related to French history and the story of the Louvre complex. Here, I encountered a majestic sculpture representing the river (3) — there are actually two, but here we speak of one: the Seine. And I must say, I was captivated by him.

The Louvre's Egyptian wing is dizzying, with fifteen thousand objects from their massive half-a-million-piece collection. Even after seeing Egyptian art in numerous museums, the Louvre's assemblage feels personal and well-organized. The procession of sphinxes (4) in Room 327 was a charming touch — I half-expected one to spring to life and pose the classic riddle about the creature that walks on four legs in the morning, two in the afternoon, and three in the evening.

A three-thousand-year-old Egyptian statue (5), likely once part of a fierce work, is displayed, and it caught my attention, especially because of its eyes. It reminded me of how Percy Bysshe Shelley envisions the sculptor of Rameses II (now in the British Museum), meticulously carving the pharaoh's visage, well aware of the emperor's demands for precision.

And finally, I returned to that room that first captured my heart — Room 344 — where a statue of Zeus, or technically Jupiter (6) (since it's a Roman piece), stands from the second century. And, goodness, what a figure he cuts!
Barye, Antoine Louis. Un fleuve. 19th century, France. Musée du Louvre, Department of Sculptures of the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Modern Times, inventory number RF 1560 & RF 1561. Louvre Museum, Sully, [HIST LOUVRE] Salle 134 - Salle de la maquette, Vitrine 08
(3) Un fleuve
Musée du Louvre. Statue of a Sphinx. Circa 380-362 B.C. [?], Serapeum of Memphis, Saqqara. Musée du Louvre, Department of Egyptian Antiquities, Room 327, Sully, inventory number N 391 D. Louvre Museum
(4) Statue of a Sphinx
Musée du Louvre. Statue. Third Intermediate Period, circa 1069-664 B.C. [?]. Musée du Louvre, Department of Egyptian Antiquities, inventory numbers E 2410; N 1579; Clot bey C 25 no. 5. Louvre Museum
(5) Statue
Musée du Louvre. Jupiter. 2nd century A.D. [?], Italy. Musée du Louvre, Department of Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities, Room 344.
(6) Jupiter
(1) Louvre Museum. Narcisse (Type, Original en Bronze) - Éphèbe (Boucle, Court, Nu, Appuyé, Sur Pilier, Bas). 2nd century A.D., Basse Égypte. Louvre, Department of Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities, Sully wing, ground floor, room 344, item Ma 457.

(2) Louvre Museum. Apollon Sauroctone. 2nd quarter 1st century A.D., Italy. Louvre, Department of Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities, Sully wing, ground floor, room 344, item Ma 441.

(3) Barye, Antoine Louis. Un fleuve. 19th century, France. Musée du Louvre, Department of Sculptures of the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Modern Times, inventory number RF 1560 & RF 1561. Louvre Museum, Sully, [HIST LOUVRE] Salle 134 - Salle de la maquette, Vitrine 08

(4) Musée du Louvre. Statue of a Sphinx. Circa 380-362 B.C. [?], Serapeum of Memphis, Saqqara. Musée du Louvre, Department of Egyptian Antiquities, Room 327, Sully, inventory number N 391 D. Louvre Museum,

(5) Musée du Louvre. Statue. Third Intermediate Period, circa 1069-664 B.C. [?]. Musée du Louvre, Department of Egyptian Antiquities, inventory numbers E 2410; N 1579; Clot bey C 25 no. 5. Louvre Museum,

(6) Musée du Louvre. Jupiter. 2nd century A.D. [?], Italy. Musée du Louvre, Department of Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities, Room 344.
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Language Meets Art: Exploring 'Amor' and 'Caritas' in Augustus-Saint-Gaudens’ Work at The Met 🌟🖼️

Explore the captivating intersection of language and art in Augustus Saint-Gaudens' masterpiece, Amor and Caritas, at The Met. A linguistic and artistic journey awaits, unveiling the roots of love and charity in this gilt bronze treasure. Perfect for educators and art enthusiasts.

Hey, y’all! 🌟 Hey, y’all! I’m at the Metropolitan Museum of Art today. I’m looking at Augustus-Saint-Gaudens’ gilt bronze piece from 1918 in the American wing. As a high school and middle school English and humanities teacher, I’m thrilled to share a bit of word power knowledge with you.

This piece beautifully intertwines language and art, featuring the words ‘amor’ and ‘caritas.’ 📚 ‘Amor,’ the Latin for love, is the root of the English word ‘amorous.’ And ‘caritas’? It signifies love and charity, a reminder of generosity and virtue. 💖

What makes this even more special is the angelic figure presenting these powerful words – a perfect blend of linguistic heritage and artistic expression. 🌈 So, here’s to finding love and language in art!
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Explore Greek & Roman Gods: Ares vs Mars - Mythology, Love, and War Insights

Dive into the fascinating world of Greek and Roman mythology with a detailed comparison between Ares and Mars. Discover their myths, lovers, and roles in ancient tales.

Hey, y’all. I’m in the Louvre Museum. Here stands Mars (or Ares to the Greeks), the deity of war, embodying cries, battles, bloodshed, and military conquest. It feels like the Romans admired him significantly, and although the Greeks certainly gave him a place of honor on Olympus, he wasn’t as much worshipped in temples as he was respected and feared. His lover was famously Aphrodite — the goddess of love. Also, in the spirit of exploring the less discussed side of history, we get to see his representation from behind. Additionally, if you’ve ever seen Ridley Scott’s ‘Prometheus’ — the prequel to the Alien movies — does the god’s face remind you of the giant humanoids from the film? And, if you’re a Percy Jackson fan, Ares plays a supporting role in the plot of the first book.

Louvre Museum. "Arès Borghèse." Louvre Collections,
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Aesthetic Thursday: Encountering St. Firmin, the Ultimate Multitasker from the 4th Century, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Embark on a historical journey with a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, home to a striking 13th-century French limestone sculpture of St. Firmin, the fourth-century multitasker. Explore the mesmerizing world of medieval art and uncover the enigmatic saint's intriguing tale of unwavering faith, becoming a bishop, and his peculiar post-decapitation joy. 
I am at the Metropolitan Museum of Art today, and I embark on a captivating journey through time as we explore the mesmerizing world of medieval art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Our focus lies on an intriguing 13th-century French limestone sculpture of none other than St. Firmin, a high-achieving multitasker hailing from the fourth-century (i.e., a Roman Catholic Saint with a penchant for carrying his decapitated head).

Encountering St. Firmin, the ultimate multitasker from the 4th century, at the #MetropolitanMuseumOfArt today. 🎨🏛️ Staring at this 13th-century French wooden sculpture, it's clear this #Saint wasn't your average holy man! 😇🙏 Quickly ascending the celestial corporate ladder, he claimed the coveted position of Bishop at #Amiens.

But here's the quirky part — he's joyfully holding his head! Yes, you read that right. A case of post-decapitation bliss, perhaps? 😂🤔 Nevertheless, he seems quite content. Go, hun!

A day well spent appreciating #ArtHistory and uncovering some divine oddities. Truly, there's nothing like a #SaintStory to keep things interesting! 💫📖

As we stand before this masterful creation, we can't help but wonder about the life and accomplishments of this enigmatic saint. St. Firmn's journey was one of immense determination and unwavering faith. Climbing the celestial corporate ladder, he eventually earned the esteemed position of bishop at Amiens, France – a feat that undoubtedly demanded great dedication and virtue.

Yet, what truly captivates us is the portrayal of St. Firmin holding his head in his hands, an expression of joy illuminating his features. His happiness and contentment in this sculpture are palpable, leaving us with the question: What was the source of his boundless joy?
A limestone sculpture of Saint Firmin
Saint Firmin

Indeed Saint Firmin is a real person and is said to have been beheaded in Amiens, France; his feast day is celebrated on September 25th. However, historical records do not confirm the exact year of his death. It's believed to have occurred during the early 4th century, possibly around 303 C.E. Miracles attributed to the discovery and translation of his relics during the time of Bishop Savin are part of the saint's hagiography.

Steeped in history, medieval art provides a rich tapestry of stories that often speak to the human experience. St. Firmn's sculpture is no exception. The depiction of a saint holding his head symbolizes his unwavering devotion to the church, even amidst the trials and challenges he faced. Also, Saint Firmin is a martyr, which means he gave up his life for his belief and devotion to Christ. In this way, martyrs are often depicted in the same way they were killed — in this example, by cutting off the poor saint's head. To illustrate that for the Christian — death is not the end, but a beginning — he carries his head as a defiance against the ravages of sin and death. And how are you doing?

Seeing such a treasure trove of medieval pieces at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is also cool. The museum serves as a befitting venue for our encounter with St. Firmn. Its halls house an extensive collection of art that transcends time, mimicking the architecture of a Gothic cathedral, allowing us to connect with our past and embrace the beauty of diverse cultures and histories.

So, next time you find yourself at the Met, take a moment to visit this 13th-century French limestone sculpture and meet the remarkable St. Firmn. Witness his joy and dedication, and let it be a reminder that happiness lies in pursuing our passions and fulfilling our purpose in life. Keep your head on properly.

In conclusion, a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art can be more than just an exploration of history – it can also be an introspective journey, connecting us with the triumphs and struggles of those who came before us. Let St. Firmn's story inspire us as we continue our paths, aiming to find joy and fulfillment in our endeavors, just as he did in the fourth century.


Resurrecting Adam: Tullio Lombardo's Masterpiece Restored

Located within the world-renowned Metropolitan Museum of Art stands an exceptional sculpture that exemplifies the brilliance of the Venetian artist, Tullio Lombardo. His interpretation of Adam, a pivotal figure from the Genesis story, is a masterpiece that testifies to the artist's unique sculpting style and uncanny understanding of the human form.


The Marble Maiden: Pygmalion, Galatea, and the Art of Love

In the sun-bathed island of Cyprus, a young artist named Pygmalion sought a beauty so perfect, so flawless, it could not be found in any living woman. Driven by an obsession of his ideal, Pygmalion turned to the marble blocks of his studio. His skilled hands chiseled the cold stone, shaping curves and contours until a woman of unearthly beauty emerged. She was so lifelike that one could swear she would move if spoken to. He named his creation Galatea, and against all odds, fell passionately in love with her.

As strange as it sounds, Pygmalion's tale is more than a story of love; it is a tale of artistic devotion, obsession, and the blurred lines between the creator and creation. And now, you have the opportunity to bring this intriguing Greek myth to your classroom, through an engaging and comprehensive resource I've crafted especially for middle and high school students.

Educational igital downloads like
This One are Available from Stones of Erasmus.

Introducing Pygmalion and Galatea: An Exploration of Myth and Art

This resource, offered as a PDF, Google Slides, and an Easel Activity and Assessment (exclusive to TpT), centers around the captivating narrative of Pygmalion and Galatea. With a three-day lesson plan complete with teachers' notes, it provides a structured, in-depth look at this myth, setting the geographical context with a map activity that situates the tale in the Mediterranean island of Cyprus.

Within this resource, reading cards offer two different versions of the Pygmalion and Galatea story, as well as an analysis of the myth through Clement of Alexandria's perspective. There are also art and literature connections which include a 16th-century artistic representation of the tale by Hendrick Goltzius, and a study of the myth's representation in various other forms of art.

To ensure your students' engagement, the resource offers a 14-count question bank for comprehension checks, and a custom note-taking template to encourage personal accountability. Frayer Model Vocabulary Cards offer students an effective way to visually understand the vocabulary related to the story. And just before wrapping up the class, a half-sheet exit ticket helps you gauge your students' understanding of the lesson.

Dig Deeper, Learn More

The learning doesn't stop here! I have included a further reading list, not just as a simple bibliography, but as a stepping stone to deeper exploration. By assigning different sources to students and organizing presentations, the learners can delve further into the story.

A unique aspect of this resource is the writing activity, which serves as a summative assessment. It asks students to analyze Pygmalion's character as either a "creator" or a "misogynist," stimulating thought-provoking discussions about gender, representation of women in literature and art, and more.

Answer keys are provided for all student-facing documents, giving you ample guidance on what to expect from students in their written and oral responses.

This resource can stand on its own, or can be paired with a larger unit on Graeco-Roman mythology or other popular texts like Ovid's Metamorphoses, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, Robert Graves's Greek Myths, or Edith Hamilton's Mythology.

If you found this resource compelling, you might also be interested in other lessons included in the Middle and High School Mythology Series, such as Cupid and Psyche, Zeus and Metis & The Birth of Athena, Apollo and Daphne, and the ever-popular Plato's Cave lesson.

Come, join me on my journey as we breathe life into ancient myths. Visit Stones of Erasmus on the web and together, let us make learning an adventure. © 2023


Clip Art: Endymion Sleeping on Mount Latmos

Endymion (some say it's Adonis) wears a hat, a Roman tunic, and sandals and naps on Mount Latmos. The original marble Roman sculpture dates from the 2nd Century C.E., where the drawing is based and is located in the British Museum in London. 
Source: The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. "Ancient styles of hats" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1845. This image is in the public domain. 


Aesthetic Thursday: "You Got Color, Girl?" Chroma Exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

In this post, I recount a recent visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where I saw dozens of color reconstructions of ancient Greek and Roman works of art. Simply fabulous.
Greig poses in front of a bust of a youthful Marcus Aurelius.
Greig poses in front of a young Marcus Aurelius in the
Ancient Greek and Roman wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
Bust of Youthful Marcus Aurelius
Marble head of the youthful
Marcus Aurelius ca. C.E. 138.
You got some color, girl? I knew ancient sculptures — especially those from Greece and Rome — were once cascaded in rich coloration. 

But go to a museum today, and you see staid marble and what appears to be a vast collection of grays, browns, and three-dimensional black and white photographs. But the pigments and paints decay. And the weathering of the seasons and the march of time have made most color drain away. 

But the coloration is still there, in small traces — which the Chroma exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art has attempted to recapture — to see ancient artworks in color again. Alas, you won’t see the now lost statue of Zeus at Olympia, but you will see that same artist’s head of Athena, which at one time had ebony eyes. I especially liked the bronze warriors. And the Sphinx in color was fantastic. 

If you have a moment and you are in New York — take a moment and experience these reconstructions done by Prof. Dr. V. Brinkmann & Dr. U. Koch-Brinkmann. @metmuseum @metgreekandroman

Reconstruction of Bust of Caligula
Reconstruction of a marble portrait of the
Emperor Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus,
known as Caligula, Variant B.

Reconstruction of Bronze of Boxer
Reconstruction of bronze statue from 
the Quirinal in Rome of the so-called Terme Boxer.

Collage of Marble Archer, Sphinx, Athena Medici, and Greek Amphora Vase
Read Clockwise: [1] Reconstruction of a marble archer in the costume of a horsemen of the peoples to the north and east of Greece, from the west pediment of Temple of Aphaia, Variant C. [2] Reconstruction of a marble finial in the form of a sphinx. [3] Marble head of Athena: The so-called Athena Medici. [4] Terracotta neck-amphora (jar) ca. 330–310 B.C.E. Attributed to the Ixion Painter — On the body, obverse, Hippolytos, attendant, and Phaidra, with a Fury above. 

Detail of Bronze Reconstruction of Riace Warrior and Terme Ruler
 [1] Reconstruction the bronze statue from the Quirinal in Rome of the so-called Terme Rule. [2] Reconstruction of bronze Riace Warrior (mid-view detail).


All Hallows' Eve in Greenwood Cemetery and Sunset Park, Brooklyn (Special 2020 Halloween Post)

In this post, I regale you with pictures and musing from an All Hallows' Eve visit to Greenwood Cemetery and Sunset Park, Brooklyn. It was a beautiful Autumn Day and we are all cognizant of the need to physical-distance ourselves — so what better way to do that than to be outdoors in a massive cemetery?

A front lawn on a sidestreet in Sunset Park 
hosts a fortune-telling witch.

Fortune-teller Witch (Exterior Halloween Lawn Decoration)

Exploring Greenwood Cemetery on All Hallows’ Eve, I scored a handful of great photographs. Located in South Brooklyn, the cemetery is one of the oldest graveyards in the city and is a site of a Revolutionary War battle. 
@historicgreenwood is also a National Historic Landmark. My friends John and Jennifer joined me; we also went to Sunset Park, my old neighborhood. Scarfed down a torta stuffed with spicy pork at @tacoselbronco, scored a free beer from a passerby, and watched the D train come out of the tunnel on Fourth Avenue — it was a serendipitous day.

Headless gravestone sculpture of a woman in Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn

A weathered devotional statue of the Virgin Mary placed next to a gravestone in Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn.A close-up detail of the face of a marble statue of the Virgin Mary in Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn


Cycladic Sculptures Explained: Millennia-Old Faces of Aegean Art

Exploring the enigmatic Cycladic art at the Met Museum, where ancient sculptures blend timelessly with modern aesthetics.
A Sculpture of a Man's Face and Head from the Cylades in the Aegean Sea on Display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
In the Aegean Bronze Age section at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, you can find Cycladic art, famous for its abstract and stylized human figures, predominantly female, dating from around 2800 to 2300 BCE.
I'm at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, looking at the museum's collection of Cycladic art. Located in the Greek wing of the @metmuseum's Cycladic art collection, this ancient sculptural representation of a human face is perhaps one of my favorite art objects (ever!). Dating from the 3rd millennium BCE to the 1st millennium B.C.E., these sculptures represent a culture that developed around 3300 B.C.E. in the Aegean Sea.
An aerial, stylized view of the Aegean Sea, dotted with the Cyclades islands, nestled between Greece, Anatolia, and Crete.

🗣️ Known for their abstract, stylized forms, these ancient works could easily be placed in the Museum of Modern Art @MoMA) and fit right in. We don't know exactly what the objects were used for, but some scholars believe that they may have been used as votive offerings, grave goods, or even status symbols.


"Air" by Walter Hancock - Sculpture along the Schuylkill River Trail

The Backside of "Air"

A photograph of the backside of Walter Hancock's sculpture "Air".


Museum Review: Bacchus/Silenus Statuette from the Hill Collection (at the Frick)

A review of the Frick Collection's bronze statuettes collected by Janine and J. Tomilson Hill.
Attributed to Adriaen de Vries, Bacchus/Silenus, c.1579-80, bronze, 89.5 cm, private collection, USA, photograph by Maggie Nimkin.

Visited the Frick Collection on Sunday, the last day the museum exhibited bronze statuettes collected by Janine and J. Tomilson Hill.