Art of Ancient Civilizations

Renaissance Art was commissioned by wealthy patrons. Art was a way of preserving the image of people with status. Sometimes, the status came from political connection or religious power.

Ancient Art was functional. It had a purpose. Whether it was a Java Buddha, a Peruvian mummy bundle, an Egyptian tomb painting or a Buddhist temple, each culture utilized art for societal purposes.

Gary had this to say about why he is interested in the Art of Ancient Civilizations:

The art from different cultures was similar in some ways, but each culture had its own style. Most of the art, except for sculptures, treated subjects like rulers and battles, gods and goddesses. They all use art to record history.

Gary Alan Ruse

Helen had this to say about her fascination with the Art of Ancient Civilizations.

Examining the art from ancient civilizations always makes me think of how they built it to last. The fact that these artworks have survived is incredible to see. The themes in the art of all the different cultures interconnect which is also incredible.

Helen Lemus

Who, when and where?

It’s helpful at this point to limit the areas and cultures that we will be examining in this post. Ancient civilizations like those of the Greeks, Aztecs, Egyptians, Incas, and Buddhists all our featured in this post.

These cultures lived long ago and their artwork survives from areas in Africa, Central and South America, Asia and parts of the Mediterranean. Although it is a long period of time, the art of ancient civilizations began with the cave paintings in France about 35,000 years ago up until 500 years ago when new movements took over the artistic pursuits of civilization..

Practical functions of ancient art

Ancient Art was utilized to communicate religious ideas. These artworks were of a large size and intentionally so. To communicate their devotion to deity, the structures had to be large, such as the ancient temples of Sumeria, Central and Southern America, Asia, and Egypt.

This is a statue of Buddha in Java or what is now part of Indonesia. It was made in the 9th Century.

Religion played a large part in the lives of ancient people as they always wanted to placate and honor the Gods. So, temples were built to allow men to ascend to the skies where they could talk to them.

This is the Ziggurat at Ur. This is located in modern day Iraq. Iraq was Mesopotamia, the cradle of civilization, and the Ziggurat was erected to give the people a place to gather and to worship the moon deity, Nanna.

There are more works to explore in the vast collection that has survived the span of centuries. We will look at more next week.

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