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A Brief History of 3-Dimensional Art


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Title: A Brief History of 3-Dimensional Art

A Brief History of 3-Dimensional Art
  • Mr. Lasseter

Prehistoric Sculpture
  • The first sculptures were made out of bone,
    stone, or antlers.
  • They were engraved, carved in deep relief, or
    sculptures in-the-round sculptures to be viewed
    from all sides.
  • Many sculptures are thought to be fertility
    fetishes like the Venus of Willendorf.

Venus of Willendorf, 25,000 -20,000 B.C.
Prehistoric Architecture
  • Earliest architecture began around 5,000 B.C.
  • Consisted of large stones in various arrangements
  • Stonehenge is believed to be an accurate
    astronomical calendar used for ritual purposes

Stonehenge, 2,350-1600 BCE Wiltshire, England.
Mesopotamian Architecture
  • Sumer- Modern day Iraq
  • Ziggurats were flat-sided, stepped pyramids used
    as temples.
  • Designed as a meeting place for man and gods

Egyptian Art
  • Egyptian society was obsessed with immortality.
  • The characteristics of Egyptian art remained the
    same for 3,000 years.
  • Egyptian art centered around Egyptian rulers and
    their after-life. The rulers, or pharaohs, were
    considered gods in the after-life. The pharaohs
    spirit, also called ka, was immortal. Many
    sculptures were created as the eternal dwelling
    place for the ka.
  • Egypt is considered the first great civilization.
    They advanced in literature, medical science,
    and mathematics.

Egyptian Architecture
  • There are 80 known remaining pyramids.
  • The pyramids were burial chambers for pharaohs.
  • The largest is the Great Pyramid of Cheops at
    Giza. It took 23 years to construct and was made
    of limestone.

Great Pyramid of Cheops at Giza, 2600 B.C.
Egyptian Tombs
  • Much of what we know about Egypt comes from
    existing tombs. The tombs were filled with
    earthly treasures that the pharaoh would use in
    the after-life.
  • Sculptures were placed in the tomb to accompany
    the dead.

The Great Sphinx at Khafres Tomb
Egyptian Tombs
  • flatroofed, mudbrick, rectangular building with
    sloping sides that marked the burial site of many
    eminent Egyptians of the Egypt's ancient period
  • Mastaba a low rectangular tomb

Egyptian Sculpture
  • Sculptures followed a rigid formula for
    representing the human figure.
  • The human form in relief
  • (a sculpture which projects from the background
    to be seen only from the front and sides) is
    depicted with a front view of the eye and
    shoulders and profile view of head, arms, and
  • The size of the figure indicated rank.
  • Typically depicted Kings and Queens
  • The human form in-the-round
  • was always stiff, frontal and bisymmetrical,
    with arms close to the torso and one foot
    slightly forward

Greek Art- 800-400 B.C.
  • There was an explosion of creativity in all areas
    that resulted in an unparalleled level of
    excellence in art, architecture, poetry, drama,
    philosophy, government, law, logic, history, and
  • Greek thought and art focused on the importance
    of man, order, and balance.
  • The Greeks invented the nude in art with an
    emphasis on the perfection of the body and mind.

Greek Sculpture
  • Most, if not all, of their sculptures are in
    motion. Greek statues were not originally white
    like we see them today. They were painted with a
    mixture of powdered pigment and hot wax to give
    color to the hair, lips, eyes, and nails.
  • They discovered contrapposto, the Greek word that
    describes the stance of a person who is standing
    in a relaxed and natural pose, with the weight of
    the body on one leg.

Kritios Boy 480 BCE
Nike of Samothrace, 190 B.C. a.k.a. Winged Victory
Greek Architecture Styles of Columns
  • Doric Ionic
  • Most basic scroll top
    most elaborate
  • No base (spiral)
    acanthus leaves on capitols

Greek Architecture
  • The Parthenon, 447-438 BCE Acropolis, Athens.
  • Built by Iktinos and Kallikrates
  • Doric style columns
  • Built without mortar, it remained intact until
    1687, when a direct rocket hit destroyed its core

End Part I
Roman Art
  • The Romans were influenced heavily by the Greeks.
  • Many Roman artists made copies of the Greek
  • Roman art is less idealized than Greek art, and
    more secular and functional.
  • Romans gradually developed their own distinctive
  • Romans made sculptures of emperors, politicians,
    and military leaders.
  • They also created narrative reliefs depicting
    military exploits.

Colosseum, 70-82 CE
  • Seated 50,000 spectators.
  • At one time it was flooded in order to perform
    naval battles.
  • Utilizes all three types of columns.
  • Inspired present-day stadium design.
  • It was originally faced with marble. The marble
    was later removed for other building projects.

The Pantheon, 118-125 CE
  • Constructed to honor the gods and is located in
    Rome, Italy. It has a huge dome that rests on a
    large drum. Its only light is the hole, or
    oculus, in the ceiling.

Interior- represents Earth Dome- represents
Roman Sculpture
  • Marcus Aurelius, 175 CE. Capitoline Hill, Rome.
  • Emperor who detested war
  • Conveys the awesome power of the emperor as the
    ruler of the world

Greek vs. Roman
  • Mythology subject matter
  • Temples to glorify gods
  • Rectangles and straight lines
  • Doric and Ionic Columns
  • Idealized gods and goddesses
  • Civic and Military subject matter
  • Civic buildings to honor empire
  • Circles and curved lines
  • Corinthian columns
  • Realistic human beings, idealized officials

Gothic Architecture- 1200-1500
  • Vertical Emphasis with soaring architecture
  • Main trait is the pointed arch and bright
  • Breakthroughs- ribbed vaulting and external
    support called buttresses
  • Gothic cathedrals were a symbol of civic pride
  • Used gargoyles and stained glass in designs

Chartres Cathedral- 1134, rebuilt 1194
Jamb Statues, Royal Portals.
Exterior View
Rose Window in Chartres
Notre Dame
  • Construction began in Paris, France in 1163
  • It took over 100 years to complete.

Italian Renaissance
  • Italian term meaning rebirth
  • A period of intense artistic creativity with a
    rediscovery of the art and literature of Greece
    and Rome
  • Categorized into Early, High, and Northern
  • There was a greater understanding of anatomy and
  • Sculpture was focused on human proportion and

Brunelleschi (1377-1446)
  • First great Italian Renaissance architect
  • Rediscovered Classical forms and simplicity
  • First self-supporting dome
  • Inner and Outer Dome

Santa Maria del Fiore, the Cathedral of Florence
Lorenzo Ghiberti (1378
  • 15th cent. sculptor
  • Best known for works in sculpture and

Gates of Paradise East doors of the Cathedral
of Florence
Donatello (1386-1466)
  • Recaptured the idea of contrapposto from
    Classical sculpture
  • Carved figures and draped them realistically with
    a sense of their underlying skeletal structure
  • First life-size, freestanding nude sculpture
    since the Classical period

David, 1420s-1450s.
Michelangelo (1475-1564)
  • His father figure was a stonecutter. He was
    obsessed with any form of art.
  • He believed that artists were divinely inspired.
    He preferred to be by himself and he rarely let
    anyone see his art in progress.
  • He always carved his figures from one block while
    other artists would join different pieces
  • He dissected cadavers to learn about anatomy.
  • He lived to be 90, carving until he died.

Pieta, 1498-1500.
David, 1501-1504
End Part II
Baroque Sculpture (1600-1750)
  • Added emotion to the ideals of the Renaissance
  • Term baroque often used negatively to mean
    overwrought and ostentatious
  • Began with Catholic popes financing magnificent
    cathedrals attempting to entice new worshippers

Bernini (1598-1680)
  • Greatest sculptor of the Baroque period
  • Architect, painter, playwright, composer, and
    theater designer
  • Son of a sculptor
  • Carved David at the age 25
  • Dynamic and explosive energy epitomized Baroque

David, c. 1623.
19th Century Sculpture
  • Abstracting the figure becomes popular.
  • Abstract Art emphasizes subject rather than
    trying to create an accurate representation of
    its appearance.
  • Also non-objective comes onto the scene.
    Non-objective art focuses on the elements and
    principles of art, not on any particular subject.
  • Non-objective art has no recognizable subject
    matter such as objects, trees, or figures. Rather
    the subject matter may be the color or the

Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
  • By Rodins time, sculpture had become little more
    than decorative public monuments. Rodin
    single-handedly revived the medium of sculpture.
  • He learned by observing the masters of sculpture,
    Donatello and Michelangelo.
  • Rodin would sculpt from live models. He refused
    to use the Greek and Roman sculptures as models.
  • He made small models out of clay before sculpting
    the final piece.

The Thinker
Constantin Brancusi (1876-1957)
  • This Romanian artist striped his sculptures of
    all detail.
  • He saw reality in terms of a few basic, universal
    shapes the egg, the smooth pebble, and the blade
    of grass. He would take any object and simplify
    it into one of these three shapes out of metal,
    wood, or marble.
  • He studied under Rodin.

Bird in Space
The Kiss
  • Founded in Zurich in 1916 by a group of refugees
    from WW1.
  • They wanted to protest the madness of the war.
    Their goal was to overthrow all authority and to
    cultivate absurdity. Its main strategy was to
    denounce and shock.
  • Dada artist, Marcel Duchamp, changed the concept
    of art.
  • Created readymades

Fountain, 1917.
Post War Sculpture
  • These artists worked with new materials like
    scrap metal, new techniques like welding, and new
    forms like assemblage and mobiles.
  • Giacometti (1901-1966) elongated the human figure
  • His art was thought to represent loneliness and
    alienation from humanity

Man Pointing, 1947
Marisol (born 1930)
  • She created box-like figures with attached body

Frank Lloyd Wright (1867 1959)
  • American architect
  • Fallingwater (Kauffman House)(1935), which has
    been called "the best all-time work of American

Henry Moore
  • He based his work on organic forms like shells,
    pebbles, and bones. Many of his sculptures
    depict the reclining figure, mother and child,
    and family.
  • He aimed not for beauty but power of expression.
  • His figures seem to emerge out of his medium.
  • Abstracted sculptures based on the human form

Henry Moore (1898-1986)
Alexander Calder (1898-1976)
  • Invented the kinetic sculpture (sculpture in
    motion) and mobile
  • He called his mobiles four-dimensional
    drawings. The mobiles move with the slightest
    breeze, changing the composition.
  • Typically used primary colors, black and white.
  • Powered by air

Louise Nevelson (1899-1988)
  • She created sculpture walls that consist of
    cubicles crammed full of carpenters cast-offs.
    She wanted more than a painting and more than a
  • Her art is an assemblage- made up of found
  • She paints the walls one color to create unity.

Sky Cathedral, 1958.
Barbara Hepworth (1903 May 1975)
  • English sculptor
  • Created simplified biomorphic forms
  • Worked in wood, bronze, and marble.

Assembly of Sea Forms
Isamu Noguchi (1904 1988)
  • Contemporary Sculpture
  • Prominent stone carver who explored pure form in
    his non-objective work.
  • Great Rock of Inner Seeking

George Segal (b. 1924)
  • He would cast figures out of plaster and put the
    casts in natural environments.
  • He would wrap plaster bandages around living
    people creating white, ghostlike figures
    depicting loneliness and alienation.

Walk, Dont Walk, 1976.
Duane Hanson (1925-1996)
  • From plaster casts of real people, Hanson
    constructs tinted fiberglass models. He then
    outfits with the figures with wigs, glasses, and
    jewelry so they are nearly identical to the real

Christo (b. 1935)
  • He creates large scale sculpture by wrapping the
    environment in large pieces of fabric.
  • His most recent work consisted of installing red
    fabric gates through New York Citys Central

Claes Oldenburg (b. 1929)
  • Swedish sculptor, best known for his Pop Art
    installations featuring very large replicas of
    everyday objects.
  • Soft Sculptures

Environmental Art
  • (left) Andy Goldsworthy
  • (right) Robert Smithson. Spiral Jetty, 1970.
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