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Charioteer of Delphi, c. 478-474 B.C.E.

Charioteer of Delphi, c. 478-474 B.C.E.

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Charioteer of Delphi

The Charioteer of Delphi is a rare surviving 2,500-year-old bronze sculpture from Ancient Greek culture. It is a life-size statue of a chariot driver found in 1896 at the Sanctuary of Apollo in Delphi.

The statue was commissioned to commemorate the victory of the tyrant Polyzalusa of Gela, a Greek colony in Sicily, and his chariot in the Pythian Games of 470 BC.

The Pythian Games (also known as the Delphic Games) were among the four Panhellenic Games of Ancient Greece. They were held in honor of Apollo every four years at his sanctuary at Delphi.

They were held two years after each Olympic Games. An inscription on the statue’s limestone base shows that Polyzalus dedicated it as a tribute to Apollo for helping him win the chariot race.

The Charioteer of Delphi was initially part of a larger group of sculptures that included the chariot, at least four horses, and possibly two grooms.

Some smaller fragments of the horses, grooms, and chariot were found with the statue. The Sicilian Greek colonies were very wealthy compared with most of the cities of mainland Greece.

Their rulers could afford magnificent offerings to the gods and the best horses and drivers for the games.

The sculptor’s name is unknown, but it is believed that the statue was cast in Athens, based on similarities with other Athenian masterpieces. The face and the body do not display arrogance, but the features of calm self-confidence.

It is a life-size statue of a chariot driver was found in 1896 at the Sanctuary of Apollo in Delphi.

The Charioteer of Delphi was initially part of a more massive group sculpture, including the chariot, at least four horses, and possibly two grooms.

Some fragments of the horses were found with the statue.

This statue is one of the few Greek bronzes to have the original inlaid glass eyes. The face and the body do not display arrogance, but the features of calm self-confidence.

Charioteer of Delphi

  • Title: Charioteer of Delphi
  • Date: 470 BC
  • Find site: Sanctuary of Apollo in Delphi – 1896
  • Material: Bronze
  • Dimensions: H:1.8m
  • Museums: Delphi Archaeological Museum

Explore the Delphi Archaeological Museum

Advice from the Oracle of Apollo

Pythia was the priestess presiding over the Oracle of Apollo at Delphi. There are hundreds of statements from the Oracle at Delphi which has survived. Many are anecdotal and have survived as proverbs. Several are ambiguously phrased, apparently to show the oracle in a good light regardless of the outcome. Such prophecies were admired for their phrasing. The following are some of the prophecies of Delphi.

“Love of money and nothing else will ruin you.”

“Pray to the Winds. They will prove to be mighty allies of Greece.”

“Sophocles is wise, Euripides is wiser, but of all men, Socrates is wisest.”

“Make your own nature, not the advice of others, your guide in life.”

Delphic Maxims

The Delphic maxims are a set of 147 aphorisms inscribed at Delphi. Initially, they were said to have been given by the Greek god Apollo’s Oracle at Delphi and were therefore attributed to Apollo himself.

The specific order and wording of each maxim vary between different versions and translations of the text.

  • Base your knowledge on learning.
  • Understand after you have heard what has occurred.
  • Know yourself.
  • Take care to know the right opportunity.
  • Control yourself.
  • Control your anger.
  • Love friendship.
  • Concentrate on education.
  • Pursue honor.
  • Seek wisdom.
  • Praise the good.
  • Shun evil.
  • Be interested in public affairs.
  • Nothing in excess.
  • On reaching the end, be without sorrow.
  • Do not be discontented by life.
  • Believe in good luck.
  • Do not sign a guarantee when obtaining a loan.
  • Do not reveal entrusted secrets.
  • Fear deceit.
  • Praise everyone.
  • Be a seeker of wisdom.
  • Think first, act later.
  • Associate with the wise.
  • Accept old age.

The Charioteer |Myth | Delphi

“Charioteer of Delphi” – Museum Without Walls

Explore Greek Museums and Historic Sites

“Love of money and nothing else will ruin Sparta.”
– Oracle of Delphi

On this day in 1896: The Charioteer of Delphi was found

The Charioteer of Delphi, also known as Iniohos (in Greek meaning the rein-holder), is one of the most known remaining sculptures from Ancient Greece and is recognized as one of the best examples of an ancient bronze sculpture. The chariot driver’s statue was discovered in 1896 at the Delphis sanctuary of Apollo and it was found by French archeologists. The statue is now displayed at the Delphi Archeological Museum.

Delphi’s charioteer is one of ancient Greece’s most important sculptures, mainly because it beautifully demonstrates the transition from Archaic to Classical standards a combination of the rigid, almost tight postures of Archaic sculptures but with the action of classical. It perfectly illustrates the balance between stylized geometric representation and idealized realism.

Photo: Greeka

The Greek name of the statue is Iniohos (he who holds the reins), was part of a complex of statues that included his four horses, the chariot on which he rode and two stable boys. The sculpture dates back between 478-474 B.C, and Apart from missing his left arm, the bronze statue is in outstanding condition. Inhiohos is an impressively to scale model, with a height of 1.8m.The scale is possibly chosen to specifically highlight the importance of the drivers physique, because just like in modern equestrian sports, athletes of chariot racing were chosen for their high height and light weight.

Photo: Archaeological Museum of Delphi

What makes the statue unique for its time period is that it was created with bronze, a material that was expensive at that time, and only the elite could afford it. Most known wealthy Greek families were from Sicily, a settlement of the Greek cities that was significantly wealthier than most of mainland Greece, hence why bronze the statue was in Sicily. However, it is unlikely the statue was actually created in Sicily because the statue’s style has more Athenian similarities. The driver of the Chariot is believed to be Polyzalos of Gela, a Sicilian Tyrant who also paid for this sculpture to be built and offered as a devotion to Apollo. The statue commemorates Gelas own victory at a Pythian Game chariot race. The Pythian games were taking place every four years to honour Pythian Apollo. As well as being made from bronze the statues details also make it unique. The inlaid eyes are one of the most intriguing features, which are created from glass. Another important detail of the statue is the drivers bare feet, which are so intricately designed that they even show his veins. Possibly the most interesting and unanswered question the statue raises is who was the sculptor? There are many speculations for who could create that art piece, but no definite answer. The most known sculptors that historians suggest is Pythagoras from Samos or Calamis, but there are also many similarities with the Pireus Apollo, ánother famous statues that was sculpted in Athens.

The Chariot of Delphi is an impressive and rare sculpture that encapsulates Greek culture, depicts its vast history and showcases Greek ingenuity, this is why Inhiohos is one of the most known and important statues of Greece.

Shared Flashcard Set

Figural Sculpture of Neolithic Greece: &ldquoThe Thinker&rdquo 4,500 B.C.

Minoan Bull Leaping Fresco, Knossos

Bull=mascot of all that is male, brutish, strong, fertile

Acrobats Fresco= showing 3 primary positions

The Harvester Vase: Hagia Triada ,
c. 1550-1500 BC. Carved from Steatite

shows men coming back from the field

cistrum (from Egypt) on man plays as men sing along leaving with rich bounty

continuous narrative around vase

Grave Circle A Gold Mask:&ldquoI have gazed into the face of Agamemnon&rdquo-Heinrich Schleimann

Grave Circle A contained 13 cist graves. It is believed about 9 adult males, 8 adult females, and 2 children / teenagers were buried there. Their bodies were wrapped in shrouds, and lowered into the shaft pits. Male bodies were adorned with gold masks.

The Lion Gate:
Monumental Sculpture

two lions, back legs on the ground front legs on podium

next to the column (all that is mycenaean?)

relieving triangle made of lighter rock, tuffa?

The end of the Phrygian kingdom is a fixed date, about 675 B.C.

Early Temple Models., 800-700 B.C ., Terracotta Temple/House from Perachora ,
probably made in Corinth. See Lawrence & Boardman

Apsidal entrance way/step into something greater.

The Eleusis Amphora, 650 B.C.:
Masterpiece of Proto-Attic Pottery

Calf-bearer ( Moschophoros ), 560 B.C.

Masterpiece of Greek Statueyy : The Peplos Kore , 530 B.C.

&lsquoBasilica&rsquo/ Temple of Hera
Oldest of the two, 600-550 B.C at Paestum

Art in the Age of Consciousness. Part II: Ancient Greece and the emergence of consciousness

It will always remain a mystery how humanity could ever blossom into that wondrous dream that we call Greece.

The Charioteer of Delphi. 478-474 BC.

This series of essays is an attempt to look at the role of art in life through the lens of its origin and evolution.

Last week, in the first essay, we explored how cave paintings emerged at the time of what Nietzsche later called first internalisation of man: the emergence of what we know as our “inner world”. According to Nietzsche, this happened because humans had to suppress the outward expression of their animal instincts in order to live in a society — and so these instincts were turned inwards instead. Thus the separation between the inner world and the outer world was born, and cave walls with images of animal spirits served as a “membrane” between them.

Gottfried Richter, in “Art and Human Consciousness”, traces the further evolution of the inner world of humans through the succession of four pictorial archetypes: the divine animal, the sphinx of Ancient Egypt, the centaur, and, finally, the charioteer of Ancient Greece (emphasis mine):

Egypt had revered the nature of the animal as something divine and superhuman <…> as a distant recollection of a time when man was still passing through the animal stage. That is the first stage.

The second stage was also reached in Egypt and can be recognized in that great, enigmatic image that is something like an epitome of the whole culture: the sphinx. A human head is struggling to escape from the body of an animal. That was Egypt: still crouched down heavily in the animal’s horizontal position, and completely devoted to the breath and pulse-beat of overwhelming cosmic forces with by far the greatest part of its being. <…>

The centaur is the third stage of this development. Not only the head is born now, but the chest as well, the centre of the human pulse and breath. But man is still immersed in the gloom of night. It is true that thinking and feeling have been set free into the human sphere, but the actual forces of the will rise up out of the deep darkness to carry and pull man around wherever they will. The centaur is still more related to the animal than it is to man. <…>

The charioteer is the fourth stage in that sequence of pictures, the first three of which were the divine animal, the sphinx, and the centaur. In the charioteer the development is complete. Man has pulled away from the animal and has released the animal from himself. He stands outside it now, awake, self-disciplined and in control. <…> And the true charioteer is Apollo. He is the heavenly, divine charioteer who leads the sun upward with his glorious team of horses he is the one the Greek experienced within himself as the divine power of his Ego.”

Nietzsche, of course, didn’t think that man’s animal instincts had been really conquered (and he was probably right — for better or for worse, they are still here). If anything, a human being is both the charioteer and his horses, at the same time (whatever the Ego might think about it), and it is not at all clear who is really in control.

There is also another important difference between Nietzsche’s concept of “internalisation of man” and Richter’s series of stages. Nietzsche appears to assume that the inner world — and the human consciousness as we know it — sprung to life instantly, in response to the rise of society. In contrast to this, Richter’s series of archetypes captures the gradualness of this process — many millennia had to pass before the ancient divine animal “split” into the charioteer and his horses.

This distinction is essential for this whole series, so I need to discuss it in more detail before returning to art per se.

So was Nietzsche right? Did the painter of Altamira have essentially the same inner world as the sculptor of Delphi (who created the charioteer), and Socrates, and Pythagorus? Had nothing happened to human consciousness in the intervening millennia, and so the whole development from the bison of Altamira to Apollo the charioteer was purely a progress of artistic form?

First of all, it is of course not just Nietzsche. This assumption — that we humans have had essentially the same consciousness all along, from the pre-historic times till nowadays — is deeply embedded into modern thinking, be it in humanities or in social sciences. To give the nearest example, David Lewis-Williams’ hypothesis on the origin of art in cave paintings is explicitly based on the idea that the pre-historic painters had “fully modern consciousness”. It is essential, because this assumption allows him to support the hypothesis with modern experimental data on altered states of consciousness.

More generally, this assumption — that we all have fundamentally similar “inner worlds” (just as we have fundamentally similar bodies), and that this is true for all humans of all times — this assumption makes it much easier to study humanity, its history and its social structures. One can, for example, study a group of undergraduates in an American University and make far-reaching generalisations about “human consciousness”. On another level, one can study modern languages and make inferences about their pre-historic counterparts, and about natural language in general (I admit I was engaged in this practice myself).

Apart from being the cornerstone of social sciences and humanities, this assumption — that we are all essentially the same “inside” — is also an essential antidote against the so-called “othering”, that is, against considering people of other tribes, cultures, epochs as somehow “less human” than oneself.

All in all, it’s not an assumption that’s easy to let go of.

But the closer we look at it, the harder it becomes not just to accept it implicitly, but even to understand what it really means — if only because it’s hard to understand what the word “consciousness” means. This very concept, “consciousness”, is central to the time we live in, and it seems to be everywhere, but there is not much agreement on what the word refers to. For example, in one sense, one can say that apes have consciousness, and so consciousness predates humanity in another, it is only later in the evolution of humankind that consciousness arises. In one sense, we all have the same consciousness in another, it can be deliberately modified by practicing meditation.

But we are not after a rigorous definition here — and, to quote Nietzsche again, “only something which has no history is capable of being defined” (and consciousness is, quite obviously, not one of these things). What’s important is that it is quite possible to entertain the hypothesis that a significant shift in the evolution of consciousness separates the divine animals of Altamira and the charioteer of Delphi.

This is, in fact, Gottfried Richter’s hypothesis, and I tend to agree: the idea that art could have changed so dramatically on its own, without any changes in human consciousness, seems much less compelling. A very elaborate and compelling variant of this hypothesis was later suggested by Julian Jaynes, in his book “The origin of consciousness in the breakdown of bicameral mind”.

What Jaynes means by “consciousness” is the familiar inner mind-space in which we introspect, self-reflect, talk to ourselves, travel in time (with the help of memory and imagination), narrativise our experiences, rationalise (or “think through”) our decisions. It is, so to speak, the “thinking”, “story-telling” consciousness — the accepted way to make rational decisions without external guidance, and without relying on intuitive impulses. This is, at least, what this consciousness likes to believe about itself, even though this is likely to be an illusion. In other words, it experiences itself as the charioteer of mind-body system — “awake, self-disciplined, and in control” (I believe it’s closer to what (some) other people would rather call “ego”).

According to Jaynes, this talkative consciousness emerged relatively recently, not long before the golden age of Ancient Greece. Before that, there was what he calls a bicameral mind, in which the right hemisphere of the brain made all the decisions in critical situations and issued verbal instructions, experienced as commands from gods (often accompanied by hallucinations). Perhaps the closest a modern Westerner can get to this experience is always following a strong and clear voice of intuition, or rather being permanently hypnotised by one’s own intuition — so that there is no experience of “free will”, “thinking” (and, as a bonus, no second-guessing oneself and no procrastination).

I will return to this shift, and its connection to the golden age of Greece, next week. But what I want to stress for now is that it was, obviously, a further step on the path of internalisation — and the accompanying world-alienation — of human beings: the inner world had become even more separated from the world out there.

Just as I was writing this essay, I received this blog post from Leo Babauta in my inbox. He writes about how the happenings in our inner worlds — our thoughts, our story-telling consciousness — prevent us from even noticing the world out there in all its beautiful glory:


The debate over whether the statue represents Poseidon or Zeus hinges on the lost attribute held in the figure's right hand. As Caroline Houser writes, "Sometimes the Artemision protector is called 'Poseidon'. Those who would do so have been known to argue that the image must be that of the great sea god since the statue was found in the Mediterranean. But like other statues of totally different subjects, this one went into the sea simply because it was on board a ship that sank. Others cite the example of the Poseidonia coins, overlooking the much weightier evidence presented by the numerous surviving statuettes of Zeus launching his thunderbolt in a pose matching that of the Artemision figure." [6]

A major additional problem with that hypothesis is that a trident would obscure the face, especially from the profile view, which most scholars (even those who have supported an identification as Poseidon) have held to be the most, or even the only, important view. Iconographic parallels with coins and vase painting from the same time period show that this obscuring pose is extremely unlikely. However, the trident may have been unusually short, avoiding the problem. On the other hand, the statue is essentially a larger version of an extensive series of smaller solid bronze figurines extending back into the late 7th century, all of which strike the same pose and represent Zeus. [7] On the basis of this and other iconographic parallels with vase-painting, [8] most scholars presently think it is a Zeus. However, opinion remains divided.

The iconography of Ancient Greek pottery portrays Poseidon wielding the trident, when in combat, in more of a stabbing motion (similar to a fencing stance or an 'advance-lunge') Zeus is depicted fighting with his arm raised, holding the lightning bolt overhead, in the same position as the Artemision Bronze (see 'Poseidon and the Giant Polybotes', an Attic red-figure stamnos attributed to the Trolios Painter, as well as 'Zeus hurling his lightning at Typhon' c. 550 BC which is a black-figured Chalcidian hydria).

The god is caught at the moment of pause in the full potentiality of his coming movement, described by Carol Mattusch: "the figure has the potential for violence, is concentrating, poised to throw, but the action is just beginning, and we are left to contemplate the coming demonstration of strength." [9] It is an original work of great strength in the Severe style that preceded the fifth-century classical style, dated to c. 460 BC . A comparison can be made with the Charioteer of Delphi, a roughly contemporaneous bronze.

Discussions concerning its provenance have found champions for most of the Greek mainland centers technically capable of such a large-scale sculpture: Attica— where Christos Karouzos [10] associates it with Kalamis (about 470–440 BCE) — Boeotia, Aegina, Sicyon or Argos. [11] The sculpture has also been associated with Onatas [12] or Myron [13] and also Kritios and Nesiotes [14] but there is no way of knowing for certain who created the work.

The sculpture was first discovered in 1926 [15] and further excavated in 1928, [16] [17] [18] at the site of a shipwreck that occurred no earlier than the middle of the second century BC. Unfortunately, not much is known about the wreck, because exploration was abandoned when a diver died, in 1928, and was never resumed. Many such shipwrecks are of Roman date and were of vessels looting Greek art to Italy, but it is unclear whether the Artemision wreck is one of these. The Jockey of Artemision – a bronze statue of a racehorse and its jockey – was recovered from the same shipwreck, and Seán Hemingway has suggested that the jockey and horse may have been looted from Corinth in 146 BC by the Roman general Mummius in the Achaean War and was on its way to Pergamon when lost. [19]

The sculpture's head, now an icon of Hellenic culture, formed the subject of a Greek 500 drachma postage stamp (in use 1954–1977) and a 1000 drachma banknote (first issue 1970, replaced in 1987).

A Survey of Art History

Horse and Geometric Symbol from the Lascaux Caves. c. 13,000 BCE.

King Menkaure and Queen. c. 2490-72 BCE.

Seated Scribe. c. 2450 BCE.

Nanna Ziggurat at Ur. c. 2100 BCE.

Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut. c. 1460 BCE.

Akhenaten, Nefertiti, and Three Daughters. c. 1350 BCE.

Nebamun Fowling in the Marshes. c. 1350 BCE.

Mask of Tutankhamun. c. 1323 BCE.

Houmuwu Ding. c. 1300-1046 BCE.

Dipylon Vase. c. 755-750 BCE.

Kouros Figure. c. 590-580 BCE.

Achilles and Ajax Playing at Dice. c. 540-530 BCE.

Peplos Kore. c. 530 BCE.

Kritios Boy. c. 480 BCE.

Plaque of the Ergastines. c. 445-438 BCE.

Grave Stele of Hegeso. c. 410 BCE.

Sanchi Stupa. 3rd century BCE.

Terracotta Warriors from the Tomb of Qin Shi Huang. c. 210 BCE.

Nike of Samothrace. c. 200-190 BCE.

Alexander Mosaic. c. 100 BCE.

Appolonius. Boxer at Rest. c. 100-75 BCE.

Painted Garden from the Villa of Livia. c. 30-20 BCE.

Laocoon and His Sons. c. 27 BCE - 68 CE.

Augustus of Prima Porta. 1st century CE.

Flavian Amphitheater or Roman Colosseum. c. 70-80 CE.

Standing Buddha from Takht-i-Bahi. c. 100 CE

Trajan's Column. c. 107-113 CE.

The Pantheon in Rome. c. 118-128 CE.

Arch of Septimius Severus. 203.

Christ as the Sun. 3rd century CE.

Ludovisi Battle Sarcophagus. c. 250-260 CE.

Portrait of the Four Tetrarchs. c. 300 CE.

Arch of Constantine. c. 312-315 CE.

Ivory Panel with Archangel. c. 525-550.

Sutton Hoo Helmet. Late 6th century - early 7th century.

Great Gold Buckle from Sutton Hoo. Early 7th century.

Lindisfarne Gospels (detail of St. Matthew page). c. 700 CE.

Chakalte. Relief with Enthroned Ruler. Late 8th century CE.

Lindau Gospels Cover. c. 880-890.

Kandariya Mahadeva Temple. c. 1000 CE.

Bayeux Tapestry (detail). c. 1070 CE.

St. Peter's Cathedral in Osnabrück. 11th century with 13th century renovations.

Coronation Mantle. 1133/1134.

Cologne Cathedral. c. 1248-1560, 1842-1880, 1950s restoration.

Nicola Pisano. Pisa Baptistery Pulpit. 1260.

Santa Maria Novella. 13th-15th centuries.

Giotto. The Lamentation. c. 1305.

Donatello. St. George. 1415-17.

Masaccio. The Tribute Money. c. 1425.

Masaccio. Holy Trinity. 1425-27.

Jan Van Eyck. Adoration of the Mystic Lamb or Ghent Altarpiece. 1425-32.

Jan Van Eyck. The Arnolfini Portrait. 1434.

Petrus Christus. Portrait of a Carthusian. 1446.

Donatello. Mary Magdalene. c. 1455.

Reconstruction of the Temple of Jerusalem. c. 1460.

Shen Zhou (1427-1509). Lofty Mount Lu. 1467.

Andrea Mantegna. Lamentation of Christ. c. 1480.

Pietro Perugino. Delivery of the Keys to St. Peter. 1481-82.

Albrecht Durer. Self-Portrait at Age 13. 1484.

Guyot Marchant. The Dance of Death. 1485.

Sandro Botticelli. The Annunciation. 1490.

Leonardo da Vinci. The Last Supper. 1495-98.

Michelangelo. Pieta. 1498-99.

The Tempietto at San Pietro in Montorio. c. 1502.

Albrecht Durer. Young Hare. 1503.

Leonardo da Vinci. Mona Lisa. c. 1503-06.

Raphael. School of Athens. 1509-10.

Michelangelo. The Creation of Adam. c. 1512.

Raphael. Madonna on Clouds with SS. Sixtus and Barbara or The Sistine Madonna. 1512.

Albrecht Dürer. Melencolia I. 1514.

Titian. Assumption of the Virgin. 1516-18.

Titian. Bacchus and Ariadne. 1522-23.

Hans Holbein the Younger. The Ambassadors. 1533.

Hans Holbein the Younger. Portrait of Henry VIII. 1540.

Caterina van Hemmesen. Self-Portrait. 1548.

Sofonisba Anguissola. The Chess Game or Lucia, Minerva and Europa Anguissola Playing Chess. 1555.

St. Basil's Cathedral or The Cathedral of the Intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos on the Moat. 1555-1561.

Pieter Bruegel the Elder. The Harvesters. 1565.

Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Hunters in the Snow. 1565.

Giuseppe Arcimboldo. The Librarian. c. 1566.

Pieter Bruegel the Elder. The Peasant Wedding. 1567.

Giuseppe Arcimboldo. Autumn. 1573.

Lavinia Fontana. Self-Portrait at the Clavichord with a Servant. c. 1577.

El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos). The Burial of the Count of Orgaz. 1586.

Jacopo Tintoretto. The Last Supper. 1592-94.

Caravaggio. The Calling of Saint Matthew. 1599-1600.

Annibale Carracci. Pieta. c. 1600.

Caravaggio. Conversion on the Way to Damascus. c. 1600-01.

Caravaggio. Supper in Emmaus. 1601.

Peter Paul Rubens. Elevation of the Cross. 1610-11.

El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos). Adoration of the Shepherds. 1612-14.

Artemisia Gentileschi. Judith Slaying Holofernes. c. 1614-20.

Anthony van Dyck. Marchesa Balbi. c. 1623.

Frans Hals. Jester with a Lute. c. 1623-24.

St. Peter's Basilica or The Papal Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican. 1506-1626.

Judith Leyster. Self-Portrait. 1630.

Rembrandt van Rijn. Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp. 1632.

Nicolas Poussin. Et in Arcadia Ego. 1637-38.

Rembrandt van Rijn. The Night Watch or Officers and Men of the Company of Captain Frans Banning Cocq and Lieutenant Wilhelm van Ruytenburgh. 1642.

Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa. 1647-52.

Diego Velazquez. Portrait of Pope Innocent X. c. 1650.

Carel Fabritius. The Goldfinch. 1654.

Gerrit Dou. Self-Portrait. c. 1665.

Jan Vermeer. The Art of Painting. c. 1668.

Jan Vermeer. The Geographer. 1669.

Andrea Pozzo. The Apotheosis of St. Ignatius. 1685-94.

Palace of Versailles. c. 1661-1710.

Giovanni Paolo Panini. Ancient Rome. 1757.

John Singleton Copley. A Boy with a Flying Squirrel (Henry Pelham). 1765.

Jean-Honore Fragonard. The Swing. 1767.

John Singleton Copley. Watson and the Shark. 1778.

Adelaide Labille-Guiard. Self-Portrait with Two Pupils. 1785.

Elisabeth Vigee Le Brun. Marie Antoinette and Her Children. c. 1787.

Elisabeth Vigee Le Brun. Self-Portrait with Her Daughter, Julie. 1789.

The Alamo Mission in San Antonio or Mision San Antonio de Valero. c. 1744-1793.

Jacques Louis David. Death of Marat. 1793.

United States Capitol Building. 1793-1962.

Charles Wilson Peale. Staircase Group (Portrait of Raphaelle Peale and Titian Ramsay Peale). 1795.

Gilbert Stuart. George Washington (Lansdowne Portrait). 1796.

Mission San Xavier del Bac. c. 1783-1797.

Francisco Goya. The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters. 1799.

Altar Head for an Oba. Late 18th-19th century.

Jacques Louis David. Napoleon Crossing the Alps. 1801-05.

Francisco Goya. The Third of May, 1808. 1814.

Washington Allston. Elijah in the Desert. 1818.

Caspar David Friedrich. Wanderer above the Sea of Fog. c. 1818.

Theodore Gericault. The Raft of the Medusa. 1818-19.

John Constable. Landscape: Noon or The Hay Wain. 1821.

Charles Wilson Peale. The Artist in His Museum. 1822.

Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849). The Great Wave off Kanagawa. 1829-33.

Eugene Delacroix. Liberty Leading the People. 1830.

Thomas Cole. The Oxbow or View from Mount Holyoke, Northhampton, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm. 1836.

Thomas Cole. The Architect's Dream. 1840.

Joseph Mallord William (J. M. W.) Turner. Slave Ship (Slavers Throwing Overboard the Dead and Dying, Typhoon Coming On). 1840.

Gustave Courbet. Self-Portrait (The Desperate Man). c. 1843-45.

Asher Brown Durand. Kindred Spirits. 1849.

Gustave Courbet. A Burial at Ornans. 1849-50.

Amanuel Leutze. Washington Crossing the Delaware. 1851.

John Everett Millais. Ophelia. 1851-52.

Rosa Bonheur. The Horse Fair. 1852-55.

Utagawa Hiroshige. Sudden Shower over Shin-Ohashi Bridge and Atake. 1857.

Jean-Francois Millet. The Gleaners. 1857.

James McNeill Whistler. Symphony in White No. 1 or The White Girl. 1862.

Honore Daumier. The Third-Class Carriage. c. 1862-64.

Albert Bierstadt. Valley of the Yosemite. 1864.

Winslow Homer. The Veteran in a New Field. 1865.

Kansas State Capitol Building. 1866-1903.

Edouard Manet. Portrait of Emile Zola. 1868.

James McNeill Whistler. Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1 or Whistler's Mother. 1871.

Claude Monet. Impression, Sunrise. 1872.

Thomas Moran. Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. 1872.

Berthe Morisot. The Cradle. 1872.

Edouard Manet. The Railway. 1873.

Thomas Eakins. The Gross Clinic. 1875.

James McNeill Whistler. Nocturne in Black and Gold - The Falling Rocket. 1875.

Auguste Renoir. Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette. 1876.

Gustave Caillebotte. Paris Street, Rainy Day. 1877.

Mary Cassatt. The Reader. 1877.

Eva Gonzales. Nanny and Child. 1877/1878.

Mary Cassatt. In the Loge. 1878.

Mary Cassatt. Little Girl in a Blue Armchair. 1878.

Edgar Degas. Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen. 1878-81.

Edgar Degas. Miss La La at the Cirque Fernando. 1879.

Thomas Anschutz. The Ironworkers' Noontime. 1880.

Marie Bashkirtseff. In the Studio. 1881.

John Singer Sargent. The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit. 1882.

Georges Seurat. A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of Le Grande Jatte. 1884-86.

Winslow Homer. The Herring Net. 1885.

John Singer Sargent. Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose. 1885-86.

Georges Seurat. Circus Sideshow (Parade de Cirque). 1887-88.

Vincent van Gogh. Cafe Terrace at Night or Coffeehouse, in the Evening. 1888.

John William Waterhouse. The Lady of Shalott. 1888.

Auguste Rodin. The Burghers of Calais. 1884-89

First National Bank Building. 1889.

Vincent van Gogh. Self-Portrait. 1889.

Vincent van Gogh. Starry Night. 1889.

William Merritt Chase. Carmencita. 1890.

Mary Cassatt. Maternal Caress. 1890-91.

Mary Cassatt. The Child's Bath. 1893.

Henry Ossawa Tanner. The Banjo Lesson. 1893.

Paul Cezanne. Still Life with a Ginger Jar and Eggplants. 1893-94.

Cecilia Beaux. Ernesta (Child with Nurse). 1894.

Claude Monet. Rouen Cathedral: The Portal (Sunlight). 1894.

Camille Pissarro. The Boulevard Montmartre on a Winter Morning. 1897.

Paul Cezanne. Mont Saint-Victoire. 1902-04.

Auguste Rodin. The Thinker. 1903.

Pablo Picasso. The Old Guitarist. 1903-04.

Robert Henri. Young Woman in White. 1904.

Great Mosque of Djenne. 1907.

Robert Henri. Eva Green. 1907.

George Bellows. Stag at Sharkey's. 1909.

Georges Braque. Mandora. 1909-10.

Umberto Boccioni. States of Mind I: The Farewells. 1911.

Wassily Kandinsky. Improvisation 28 (second version). 1912.

Pablo Picasso. Still Life with Chair Caning. 1912.

Umberto Boccioni. Dynamism of a Soccer Player. 1913.

Umberto Boccioni. Unique Forms of Continuity in Space. 1913.

Robert Henri. Tam Gan. 1914.

Jacob Epstein. Torso in Metal from The Rock Drill. 1913-15.

Claude Monet. Water Lilies. 1916.

James Montgomery Stagg. I Want You for U. S. Army. 1917.

Hannah Hoch. Cut with the Kitchen Knife Dada through the Last Weimar Beer-Belly Republic Cultural Epoch in Germany. 1919.

John Singer Sargent. Gassed. 1919.

Pablo Picasso. Three Musicians. 1921.

Constantin Brancusi. Bird in Space. 1923.

Wassily Kandinsky. On White II. 1923.

Laszlo Moholy-Nagy. Composition A.XX. 1924.

Charles Demuth. I Saw the Figure Five in Gold. 1928.

Rene Magritte. The Treachery of Images. 1929.

Piet Mondrian. Composition No. 2 with Red and Blue. 1929.

Chrysler Building. 1928-1930.

Bonecutter-Dimond Chevrolet Filling Station. 1930.

First National Bank Building. 1930.

Grant Wood. American Gothic. 1930.

Grant Wood. Stone City, Iowa. 1930.

Thomas Hart Benton. The Midwest from the mural, America Today. 1930-31.

Salvador Dali. The Persistence of Memory. 1931.

Alexandre Hogue. Dust Bowl. 1933.

Lily Furedi. Subway. 1934.

Diego Rivera. Man Controller of the Universe. 1934.

Georgia O'Keeffe. Deer's Skull with Pedernal. 1936.

John Steuart Curry. Tragic Prelude. 1937.

Salvador Dali. Metamorphosis of Narcissus. 1937.

Pablo Picasso. Guernica. 1937.

Fallingwater or The Kaufmann Residence. 1936-1939.

John Steuart Curry. Wisconsin Landscape. 1938-39.

Hale Woodruff. The Revolt from The Amistad Murals. 1938-39.

Georgia O'Keeffe. Hibiscus and Plumeria. 1939.

Piet Mondrian. Composition No. 10. 1939-42.

Thomas Hart Benton. The Hailstorm. 1940.

Frida Kahlo. Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird. 1940.

Edward Hopper. Nighthawks. 1942.

Jackson Pollock. Mural. 1943.

Norman Rockwell. Freedom of Speech. 1943.

Norman Rockwell. Rosie the Riveter. 1943.

M. C. Escher. Drawing Hands. 1948.

Jackson Pollock. No. 5, 1948. 1948.

Andrew Wyeth. Christina's World. 1948.

Alberto Giacometti. Dog. 1951.

M. C. Escher. Relativity. 1953.

Norman Rockwell. Triumph in Defeat or Girl with Black Eye. 1953.

Mark Rothko. No 61 (Rust and Blue). 1953.

Kay Sage. Tomorrow Is Never. 1955.

Bridget Riley. Movement in Squares. 1961.

Edward Hopper. New York Office. 1962.

Frank Stella. Hyena Stomp. 1962.

Wayne Thiebaud. Salads, Sandwiches, and Desserts. 1962.

Andy Warhol. Campbell's Soup Cans. 1962.

Roy Lichtenstein. Whaam!. 1963.

Roy Lichtenstein. Ohhh. Alright. . 1964.

James Rosenquist. F-111. 1964-65.

Joan Miro. The Skiing Lesson. 1966.

Barnett Newman. Who's Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue. 1966.

Richard Estes. Bus with Reflection of the Flatiron Building. 1966-67.


The earliest archaeological evidence of chariots in China, a chariot burial site discovered in 1933 at Hougang, Anyang in Henan province, dates to the rule of King Wu Ding of the late Shang Dynasty (c. 1200 BC). Oracle bone inscriptions suggest that the western enemies of the Shang used limited numbers of chariots in battle, but the Shang themselves used them only as mobile command-vehicles and in royal hunts. [22]

During the Shang Dynasty, members of the royal family were buried with a complete household and servants, including a chariot, horses, and a charioteer. A Shang chariot was often drawn by two horses, but four-horse variants are occasionally found in burials.

Jacques Gernet claims that the Zhou dynasty, which conquered the Shang ca. 1046 BC, made more use of the chariot than did the Shang and "invented a new kind of harness with four horses abreast". [23] The crew consisted of an archer, a driver, and sometimes a third warrior who was armed with a spear or dagger-axe. From the 8th to 5th centuries BC the Chinese use of chariots reached its peak. Although chariots appeared in greater numbers, infantry often defeated charioteers in battle.

Massed-chariot warfare became all but obsolete after the Warring-States Period (476–221 BC). The main reasons were increased use of the crossbow, the adoption of standard cavalry units, and the adaptation of mounted archery from nomadic cavalry, which were more effective. Chariots would continue to serve as command posts for officers during the Qin dynasty (221-206 BC) and the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD), while armored chariots were also used during the Han Dynasty against the Xiongnu Confederation in the Han–Xiongnu War (133 BC to 89 AD), specifically at the Battle of Mobei (119 BC).

Before the Han Dynasty, the power of Chinese states and dynasties was often measured by the number of chariots they were known to have. A country of a thousand chariots ranked as a medium country, and a country of ten thousand chariots ranked as a huge and powerful country. [24] [25]

Charioteer of Delphi, c. 478-474 B.C.E. - History

Albenga Baptistery, interior view, early 6 th century, Albenga, Italy

“Early Christian Baptisteries were more than simply convenient shelters for liturgical rites. They functioned as symbols in themselves their shape and decoration reflected and reinforced the theological significance or meaning of the ritual. Whereas the shapes and their furnishings were specially built to accommodate a complex ceremony having regional and indigenous variations, certain details of their design were intended to express the meaning and purpose of the rite…”writes R. Jensen in his 2010 book Living Water. The Albenga Baptistery intends to briefly explore a magnificent example of Early Christian Baptistery Architecture. https://brill.com/view/book/9789004189089/Bej.9789004188983.i-306_008.xml

Albenga is an old Italian city with a rich history. Built on the Gulf of Genoa, in the province of Savona in Liguria, Albenga is charmingly nicknamed, City of a Hundred Towers. During the Roman period, Albenga was a busy port town called Albium Ingaunum. Interestingly, the city’s ancient Roman structure survived time, and today, the two Roman main streets, the “Cardo” and “Decumanus” intersect at its modern centre. The city is also famous for the wreck of the Roman ship, exhibited in the Naval Museum. This Marine Archaeology find is the “largest Roman transport vessel known to date in the Mediterranean, with a load exceeding 10,000 amphorae, and therefore with a net capacity of 450/500 tons. The amphorae contained wine from Campania destined for the markets of southern France and Spain. Along with wine, black-glazed ceramics…” and other types of export pottery were discovered as well. https://www.scoprialbenga.it/en/roman-naval-museum.htm In addition to Roman ruins, Albenga boasts splendid Early Christian and Medieval monuments like the city’s 12th-century Cathedral, the famous early 6th-century Baptistery we will further discuss, and “hundred” of Medieval Towers.

The Albenga Baptistery was built during the early sixth century AD, when the city, following a perilous period of unrest, was reconstructed by Emperor Flavio Costanzo in his attempt to rebuild the Roman Empire. The Albenga Baptistery can be described as an octagonal room with a baptismal font in the middle and “inner walls articulated in two arcades, one above the other, and originally covered by a dome.” The lower arcade presents eight arches followed by niches, one of both on each of the eight walls. Each niche has a semicircular or rectangular ground plan and a small window for illumination. “Two of the niches, to the south-west and the south-east, have doors connecting the octagonal room with the outside.” The Baptistery’s upper arcade has sixteen arches, seven of which are large windows, one smaller in size, and the rest of the arches, in between windows, simply closed. Interestingly, “while the octagonal shape dominates the inside of the building and also the outside of the upper part, the thicker, lower part has an irregular, decagonal outer shape, probably in order to adapt to surrounding buildings of which little is known.” Bottom line, this is an ambitious Early Christian architectural project “realized through important economic and architectural efforts.” https://www.academia.edu/14528427/Photomodelling_as_an_Instrument_for_Stratigraphic_Analysis_of_Standing_Buildings_the_Baptistery_of_Albenga_con_Cristian_Aiello_Federico_Caruso_Chiara_Cecalupo_Elie_Essa_Kas_Hanna_in_Rivista_di_Archeologia_Cristiana_90_2014_pp_259_293

The Baptistery’s interior was, it is believed, decorated with a bold mosaic pictorial program that covered, most probably, the niches, the walls and the pavement surrounding the baptismal font of the Baptistery. Today, the only part covered with mosaics is the barrel vault over the northeastern interior niche. Reading Nathan S. Denis’s Visualizing Trinitarian space in the Albanga Baptistery, we learn that “the early sixth-century baptistery in Albenga, Italy, contains one of the earliest attempts to render the Christian Trinity in pictorial form.”

This mosaic is made of two parts. The bigger part of the two presents “a tripartite group of interlocking Chi-Rho monograms imprinted upon an equally tripartite gradient-blue nimbus” of golden-yellow and white marble tesserae for the Chi-Rho and a circular field of light-blue glass mosaic for the nimbus. “Surrounding the monogram are twelve white doves immediately above the monogram is a small orb containing a golden cross and… eighty-six eight-pointed white stars against a deep, lapis-coloured background…” The smaller of the two is on the lunette above the window and shows two lambs flanking a jewelled cross in a paradisiacal landscape of green and blue background.

Both compositions are framed by a thick rinceaux border on a striking white background. There is a second border, both geometric and floral, on the underside of the window arch flanking a white anchor, and again, over the entrance to the niche, flanking an inscription that reads “NOMINAMVS QVORVM HIC RELIQVIAE SVNT,” or “We call upon [them] whose relics are here.” The inscription is accompanied by the names of “Sts. Stephen, John the Evangelist, Lawrence, Nabor, Protasius, Felix, and Gervasius, with the two missing names on the lowest register generally believed to have been St. Victor and Sixtus I.”

For a Student Activity, please… check HERE!

Blue Glass Amphoriskos from Pompeii

Blue Glass Amphoriskos with cupids gathering grapes from the Villa of the Mosaic Columns in Pompeii, between circa 1 and circa 79 AD, Cameo Glass, Naples Archaeological Museum

“Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed / Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu / And, happy melodist, unwearied, / For ever piping songs for ever new / More happy love! more happy, happy love! / For ever warm and still to be enjoy’d, / For ever panting, and for ever young / All breathing human passion far above, / That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy’d, / A burning forehead, and a parching tongue.” Wrote John Keats in his famous Ode to a Grecian Urn… What about the Blue Glass Amphoriskos from Pompeii we will discuss today who is going to do justice to it? https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44477/ode-on-a-grecian-urn

Portland Vase, between circa 1 and circa 25 AD, Cameo Glass, H. 24 cm, Diam. 17.7 cm, British Museum
Glass Amphoriskos with cupids gathering grapes from the Villa of the Mosaic Columns in Pompeii, between circa 1 and circa 79 AD, Cameo Glass, Naples Archaeological Museum

The Portland Cameo Vase might be famous for its chic et simple design, but the Pompeiian Cameo Amphorisko is chic but definitely not simple! It is luxuriously rich, elaborately designed, lavishly ornate, ostentatious, sumptuous… yet elegant in a “Baroque” way! The Classicist I admires the Portland Vase… my Hellenistic psyche, however, is all for the Pompeian Amphorisko!

It was the 29 th of December 1837 and the archaeological site of Pompeii was visited by King Ferdinand II of Naples and Sicily. What a lucky day for the excavators and the visiting King… a rare Blue Glass Cameo Vase, regarded today as one of the most important treasures of the Naples National Archaeological Museum, was discovered in the area of the enclosed, small, funerary garden of the Villa of the Mosaic Columns. I do not know how true this story is… but the Romantic me likes it! https://www.interno16holidayhome.com/2019/02/22/discovering-the-blue-vase-of-pompeii/ The correct date for the discovery of the Blue Glass Amphorisko is probably 1834 as sited on the Naples Archaeological Museum site. However hard I searched Internet sources, I found little more… https://www.museoarcheologiconapoli.it/en/room-and-sections-of-the-exhibition/metal-ivory-and-glass-objects/

The area where the Blue Glass Amphoriskos was discovered.

The Pompeian Blue Glass Amphoriskos is a very rare example of ancient cameo glass. This is a type of luxurious vessel inspired by intricate Hellenistic relief-cut gems, extremely popular during the period of the Augustan and Julio-Claudian periods, from 27 B.C. to 68 AD. Based on lengthy research by David Whitehouse of the Corning Museum of Glass, there are only 15 extant vessels and about 200 fragments of Cameo Glass in Museums and private collections today. The Romans created Cameo vessels, large wall plaques, and small jewellery items, using craftsmen of the finest technical skills, as highly expensive items of luxury for the Roman aristocracy. https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20130916-mystery-of-a-missing-masterpiece and https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/rcam/hd_rcam.htm

The Corning Museum of Glass describes a Roman Cameo piece of Glass as “an object with two or more layers of different colours the top layer is partly cut away to fashion decoration in low relief against a background of contrasting colour. Most Roman examples are made with two layers, usually white over blue. However, fragments of vessels exist with more than two layers, and sometimes as many as five.” https://www.cmog.org/set/reflecting-antiquity-cameo?id=1376

The Pompeian Blue Glass Amphoriskos is luxuriously decorated with Dionysiac scenes, particularly scenes of grape harvest. “On one side, a cupid is pouring rich grapes into a vat, where another cupid is intent on wine-pressing. The scene is framed by two low wide columns, on which two cupids are sitting while they accompany the grape harvest playing the syringe and the double flute. On the opposite side stands a klinos (bed), where are lying two cupids, one of which is playing the lyre, while on the other two columns a cupid picks grapes, and the other is holding a bunch in the hand and a basket already full on the head.” Between these two scenes, depicted is a Dionysiac “mask” with grapes, tendrils and birds! At the very bottom of the Vase, the artist who created this amazing Blue Glass Amphorisko masterfully presents a series of animals feeding on grass and shrubs, in between white, thin, horizontal, lines. What an accomplishment on a small scale! https://www.museoarcheologiconapoli.it/en/room-and-sections-of-the-exhibition/metal-ivory-and-glass-objects/

For a PowerPoint on the Villa of the Mosaic Columns, please… click HERE!

Villa of the Mosaic Columns

Mosaic Columns from The Villa of the Mosaic Columns in Pompeii, 1 st century AD, Naples National Archaeological Museum

“If you have a garden in your library, we will want for nothing” wrote Marcus Tullius Cicero to his illustrious new friend Marcus Terentius Varro… and he is so right! Gardening can be so gratifying and the Romans understood it and thus “In the middle of Roman buildings…a roofless square, often with Greek sculptures and temples, was where the Hortus, the garden, was planted and enjoyed. Common Romans might only have had a small courtyard or paved square with pots. Many grew basic foods as a thin bulwark against starvation. The rich enjoyed much larger, more fertile and refined gardens, often closer to parks than yards…Cicero’s correspondent, Varro, was not only well-off but also a scholar of gardening and farming. In light of this, it’s likely that Varro did offer Cicero a well-stocked library, and in it a luxurious garden.” Villa of the Mosaic Columns is about one such lovely Garden, very specially decorated… https://www.commonsenseethics.com/blog/5-things-that-you-need-to-be-happy-according-to-cicero

The Villa of the Mosaic Columns’ Pompeiian address is on the northern side of Via delle Tombe, behind the bars and shops facing the busy street leading to Herculaneum. Either way, you choose to enter this interesting Villa… you enter a Garden. I like to choose Entrance A (see POST Villa Plan) because Garden C is bigger, it has a mosaic-decorated Nymphaeum and a pergola supported on four magnificent Mosaic Columns. It is thanks to these unique mosaic columns that the Villa, justifiably, took its name. https://sites.google.com/site/ad79eruption/pompeii/villas-outside-the-walls/villa-of-the-figured-capitals

The Villa’s Columns are magnificent! They are covered in colourful mosaic decorations with successive bands of geometric, floral and/or figurative designs. The Villa is unfortunately in a poor state of preservation and thus soon after their discovery, the columns were removed and taken to the National Archaeological Museum in Naples where can today be seen.

The second Garden G is accessed by a wide-open area on the north side of Garden C as well as a corridor leading to Via delle Tombe. Very little survives of its original decoration apart from a Lalarium on its south-west corner. The colonnade to the north marks the entrance to the main living quarters which are unfortunately in an almost ruinous condition. The Villa was probably the most ostentatious in the area. “The decoration in fine painting and mosaics, the grandeur of the architecture and the size of the servant quarters put the Villa delle Colonne a Mosaicoon a par with or greater than its immediate neighbours, above which it literally towered. Finally, the row of shops that lie beneath the Villa, which was certainly built during a combined sequence of construction, implies that one source of the villa owner’s wealth was the trades practised by those who worked and lived in this complex. Therefore, the shops supported the Villa economically as well as physically, extending the metaphor into a clearly visible statement of the social hierarchy of the city – a statement that complemented the public display that the Villa itself represented.” http://online.sfsu.edu/pompeii/research2006.html

An interesting discovery lays at the Villa’s south/east side where, within a gated enclosure, a Tomb and a unique Blue and White Glass Vase were discovered. According to Jashemski… “Since this was the only tomb that had a door leading from the tomb chamber into the garden, and since the only entrance to the garden was from the villa of the Mosaic Columns, it was obvious that the tomb and its garden belonged to this villa.” Jashemski, W. F., 1993. The Gardens of Pompeii, Volume II: Appendices. New York: Caratzas, (p.256).

Today, the Blue Glass Vase, found in the Villa of the Mosaic Columns’ Tomb, is one of the most precious treasures of the Naples Archaeological Museum. We will discuss this amazing Vase in Villa of the Mosaic Columns, Part 2.

Glass Amphoriskos with cupids gather grapes from the Villa of the Mosaic Columns in Pompeii, between circa 1 and circa 79 AD, Cameo Glass, Naples Archaeological Museum

I would like to finish this POST once again with Cicero, who, as he was growing older, he enjoyed more and more the calm and serenity of his gardens, either in his Tusculum Villa where he withdrew to his library and gardens to think and write, or his family Villa in Arpinum, where during his later years, he collected his scrolls and codices, away from Rome, for better protection. “By means of our hands, we struggle to create a second world within the world of nature,” Cicero wrote, thinking as a Stoic philosopher, for whom “the garden was a microcosm of the larger order of the cosmos.” https://www.commonsenseethics.com/blog/5-things-that-you-need-to-be-happy-according-to-cicero

For a PowerPoint on the Villa of the Mosaic Columns, please… click HERE!

The Month of August

The Month of August, latest 1407, possibly by Maestro Venceslao, Fresco, Torre Aquila, Castello del Buonconsiglio in Trento, Italy

“I am a reaper whose muscles set at sun-down. All my oats are cradled. / But I am too chilled, and too fatigued to bind them. And I hunger. / I crack a grain between my teeth. I do not taste it. / I have been in the fields all day. My throat is dry. I hunger / My eyes are caked with dust of oat-fields at harvest-time. / I am a blind man who stares across the hills, seeking stack’d fields of other harvesters. …”writes the African-American poet, Jean Toomer (1894—1967) and I think of The Month of August by Maestro Venceslao, in Torre Aquila, Castello del Buonconsiglio in Trento, Italy. https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/53989/harvest-song

The Cycle of the Twelve Months is a favourite theme in the arts of the Middle Ages and the Early Renaissance. Often linked to the signs of the Zodiac, the Cycle of the Months is often perceived as a link between the work of man, the seasons of the year and God’s ordering of the Universe. As a theme, it recurred in the sculptural decorations of cathedrals and churches across Europe, in illuminated manuscripts like the popular Books of Hours, palace frescoes and, rarely, panel paintings.

The fresco panels in Torre Aquila are rare and special. They document life in the Trentino area, with references to aristocratic pastimes throughout the year, or the peasant activities and duties to their masters. They also depict a vivid landscape, romanticized even then, from bare and covered with snow, to rich and fertile, to autumnal, covered with fallen leaves.

August is a special month for Trentino residents and Maestro Venceslao painted it to remind us. We can easily imagine Prince Giorgio di Liechtenstein relaxing in this special room, away from his noisy Court… and among his books and curios enjoy the perfect world that Maestro Venceslao created for him! What a treat!

The Month of August fresco is horizontally divided into three zones, the lower of which is dedicated, once more, to falconry, the European sport par excellence, for the aristocracy. The fresco depicts two elegant ladies, one dressed in light blue, the other in blue-black and a gentleman holding a long stick, ready to start hunting! They just came out of the crenellated door of a castle and they walk towards a wooded area, their hawks in hand, trained for hunting. August is a summer month of leisure and moments of falconry show privilege, power and social status.

Defining Falconry, we would say that it is the “hunting of wild animals in their natural state and habitat by means of a trained bird of prey.” Falconry most probably began in Mesopotamia, or in western Mongolia. In Europe, and towards the latter part of his life, King Frederick II, a man of extraordinary culture, energy, and ability, wrote a decisive treatise on falconry titled De arte venandi cum avibus (“The Art of Hunting with Birds”) for the sport that “was probably introduced around AD 400, when the Huns and Alans invaded Europe from the east.” Apparently Falconry was an aristocratic sport enjoyed equally by men and women. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falconry

Maestro Venceslao dedicates the biggest part of the August composition to the hard-working peasants of Trento. In the upper zone, the farmers have a lot to work on. It is harvest time, the landscape is turned to golden yellow and both men and women work hard, bending under the blazing sun, to scythe the crops, collect the ears, tie them in sheaves and arrange them in stacks. And this is not enough! Farmers still have to load their wagons with heavy grain, as depicted in the middle zone, and to transport their day’s hard work on the dirt road, to the neighbouring village, where they will store it in the local barn. The village is undoubtedly picturesque, with ocher-coloured houses, thatched roofs, and a small church, brightly coloured pink. My favourite vignette, the depiction of the village priest, standing on the rectory’s threshold intent on reading, oblivious to the commodity around him. https://www.buonconsiglio.it/index.php/Castello-del-Buonconsiglio/monumento/Percorso-di-visita/Torri/Torre-Aquila

A PowerPoint on Torre Aquila’s frescoes for the Months of August and September is… HERE!

The Archangel Gabriel of Hagia Sophia

Archangel Gabriel, 9th century, south side of the Bema of the Holy Apse, entire figure seen through scaffolds, photographed in 1938, MS.BZ.004-03-01-02-016-029, The Byzantine Institute, Dumbarton Oaks Fieldwork Records and Papers, ca. the late 1920s-2000s, Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives at Dumbarton Oaks, Trustees for Harvard University, Washington, D.C.

“Whittemore is now working on a huge archangel, on the S. face of the arch in front of the E. semi-dome. On the same scale as the Virgin, he was one of her two guards. Whether his colleague, on the N. face, is preserved or not Whittemore doesn’t yet know. But the one on the S. face is very well preserved indeed: enough tests have been made to establish that. And he may be of the early Macedonian period: X or even IX—after 842, when images were finally restored. You may imagine with what thirst I await the revelation.”This is an excerpt from a letter Royall Tyler wrote to Mildred Barnes Bliss, back on October 11, 1936 about the Uncovering of the Mosaics of Hagia Sophia and The Archangel Gabriel of Hagia Sophia in particular. https://www.doaks.org/research/library-archives/dumbarton-oaks-archives/historical-records/bliss-tyler-correspondence-excerpts#uncovering-of-the-mosaics-of-hagia-sophia–constantinople–october-1936

Archangel Gabriel, Mosaic on the Southside of the Bema of the Holy Apse, 9 th century, Hagia Sophia of Constantinople

The 1902 to 1953 correspondence between Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss, the founders of Dumbarton Oaks, and their close friend and art adviser, Royall Tyler, and his wife, Elisina, are important primary sources and document the formation of the Blisses’ art collection. They also discuss contemporary history, literature and poetry, music, politics, and expatriate life… https://www.doaks.org/research/library-archives/dumbarton-oaks-archives/historical-records/bliss-tyler-correspondence-excerpts

Two monumental mosaic Archangels, Michael and Gabriel, over 10 meters in height, stood guard flanking Mary with Christ Child on her lap at the Great Church of the Holy Wisdom of God in Constantinople. Dating from the 9 th century, they were epic in size, towering over the Bema Soffit of the Holy Apse, massive and solid, yet… wherever you were standing and however you were looking at them, they seemed majestic, imposing and ethereal as they levitated on the golden mosaic bed of divine light. Archangels Michael and Gabriel stood regal and imposing, members of a celestial court of honour for Christ and his mother, splendidly dressed in white and gold just like the members of the Imperial Court stood next to the Emperor.

Today, the presentation of Archangel Michael on the north side of the Bema soffit is regretfully almost totally missing. Gabriel, however, is still well preserved, helping us understand the magnificence of Hagia Sophia’s Holy Apse composition. My fascination stands with Gabriel’s face and the amazing ability of the Byzantine mosaicist to use hundreds of different-size tesserae and countless different coloured stones or glass to create a face of spirituality and transcendentalism on such a grand scale, with facial contours and a sense of three-dimensionality that astounds the viewer.

To quote Bob Atchison “The flesh tones used in the face and neck are fine-grained white marble, Proconnesian white marble, Proconnesian grey, cream marble (used very sparingly), and two or three tones of pink marble. Extensive use is made, furthermore, of off-white milky glass which has sometimes a bluish, sometimes a purplish tinge this forms the right outline of the face, the left outline of the forehead, the pockets under the eyes, the area of light shadow to the left of the nose, etc. Olive glass is used for strong shadows to the left of the nose, round the eyes, the dimple under the nose, and for the shadow under the mouth, where it is mixed with lighter shades of glass and with pink marble. The tip of the nose and parting of the mouth are in deep red glass. Vermilion glass is used in the lips (in the lower lip it is mixed with pink marble) and one line of it forms the end of the chin. The nostrils are in black glass. No green or yellow-green occurs in the archangel’s face.” https://www.pallasweb.com/deesis/angel-bema-hagia-sophia.html

“It seems too good to be true that there is such a mass of the noblest mosaics ever created, waiting there to be revealed… And I needn’t say that in the whole field of art, there’s nothing that seems to me to touch this work, for importance, and for the unutterable joy these things give when they are uncovered.” https://www.doaks.org/resources/bliss-tyler-correspondence/letters/11oct1936

For a Student Activity, please… check HERE!

Workers tracing the lower part of Archangel Gabriel, the south Angel, in the Bema soffit of Hagia Sophia, 1939. From the collection: The Byzantine Institute, Dumbarton Oaks Fieldwork Records and Papers, ca. the late 1920s-2000s. Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives.

Grant Wood and the Revolutionary Spirit

Grant Wood, 1891-1942
Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, 1931, Oil on Masonite, 76.2 × 101.6 cm, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Arthur Hoppock Hearn Fund, Photograph: © 1988 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Art © Estate of Grant Wood / Licensed by VAGA, New York.

Listen, my children, and you shall hear / Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere, / On the eighteenth of April in Seventy-five / Hardly a man is now alive / Who remembers that famous day and year…Wrote Henry Wadsworth Longfellow back in 1860. Grant Wood and the Revolutionary Spirit is my new POST on a 20th-century painting capturing the most important moment in the story of Paul Revere. https://poets.org/poem/paul-reveres-ride

Eight years of Revolutionary War (1775–1783) and Art in America came to a halt. Some prominent Colonial artists were in England at the time, studying, and remained there, others, disagreeing with the violence, embraced neutrality. Yet some, although safe in Europe, returned to fight and take part in building a new nation. They all managed to give a view of the period with portraits, historical scenes and more. From architectural buildings to furniture, silverware, glass and porcelain, adorned with symbols of patriotism and national pride, people were proud of their new nation and showed it.

Grant Wood is an American artist who has never lost his “Revolutionary” vision and spirit. He was born in 1981, on a farm in rural Anamosa, Iowa, but unfortunate circumstances, his father’s unexpected early death, forced the family to move to Cedar Rapids where Wood, a High School student by then, was introduced to Art. As a school graduate, he first moved to Minnesota and Chicago later, where he took Art Classes with Ernest A. Batchelder and Charles Cumming until 1916 when he returned to Cedar Rapids to take care, financially, of his mother and sister, working as a home builder and decorator. The end of World War I changed Wood’s career as he began teaching Art at McKinley Middle School. In the 1920’ Wood travelled to Europe, and in 1925, he gave up teaching to focus on his art full-time encouraged by his friend David Turner, “the savvy and energetic mortician,” and the people of Cedar Rapids who “like a revelation… their clothes, their homes, the patterns on their table cloths and curtains, the tools they used” kindled his creativity as he “suddenly saw all this commonplace stuff as material for art. Wonderful material!”

If the 1920’ were Wood’s formative years, the 1930s saw Wood’s artistic maturity and recognition as a leading figure of the American Regionalist movement, a rather conservative and traditionalist style that appealed to popular American sensibilities and the need for an American cultural identity. His famous painting American Gothic won a medal at the Art Institute of Chicago’s annual exhibition in 1930, the Institute bought the painting, and Wood, thirty-nine years old, saw his reputation rise among his colleagues. Back in Cedar Rapids, he joined forces with Ed Rowen and created the quaint Stone City Art Colony, where they taught classes through Coe College. In 1934, his life changed dramatically when he accepted a position as professor of Art at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. His appointment to the University of Iowa was ill-fated as a series of unpleasant events professionally stressed him and personally harassed him… https://www.theartstory.org/artist/wood-grant/life-and-legacy/

In 1931 Wood painted a charming, captivating and enchanting painting titled The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere. In Picturing America Teachers Resource Book we read “Wood was a self-consciously “primitive” painter who emulated the unpretentious, unschooled manner of American folk artists… The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere goes one step further to capture a child’s point of view. A bird’s-eye perspective (like the view from an airplane) allows us to survey a vast sweep of countryside and gives the New England village the ordered clarity of a town made of toys: the country church and surrounding houses are simple geometric shapes, as though constructed of building blocks the trees are crowned with perfect green spheres, like those a child would try to draw… The rolling landscape beyond is left sleeping in a darkness that is broken only by tiny glimmers from faraway windows. To complete this evocation of a childhood dream, Wood whimsically portrays Paul Revere’s trusty steed—“flying fearless and fleet,” in Longfellow’s words—as a rocking horse.” https://picturingamerica.neh.gov/downloads/pdfs/Resource_Guide/English/English_PA_TeachersGuide.pdf

Upper Elementary and Middle School students find the historic event of Paul Revere riding on the night of April 18, 1775, to alert the colonial militia to the approach of British forces exciting and fascinating. We discuss historic events, we read Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem, explore and discuss Wood’s painting Using Picturing America Teachers Resource Book. Finally, for homework, I usually assign them to do an Activity you can access… HERE!

Scenes from the life of the Greek hero Achilles

The Acquisition
In 1902, a landowner working on his property accidentally discovered a subterranean built tomb covered by a tumulus (mound). His investigations revealed the remains of a parade chariot as well as bronze, ceramic, and iron utensils together with other grave goods. Following the discovery, the finds passed through the hands of several Italian owners and dealers who were responsible for the appearance of the chariot and related material on the Paris art market. There they were purchased in 1903 by General Luigi Palma di Cesnola, the first director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The Monteleone chariot is the best preserved example of its kind from ancient Italy before the Roman period. The relatively good condition of its major parts–the panels of the car, the pole, and the wheels–has made it possible to undertake a new reconstruction based on the most recent scholarship. Moreover, some of the surviving ivory fragments can now be placed with reasonable certitude.
The other tomb furnishings acquired with the chariot are exhibited in two cases on the south wall of this gallery.

The Form and Function of the Chariot
Chariots originated in the Ancient Near East during the early second millennium B.C. and spread westward through Egypt, Cyprus, and the Greek world. In the predominant early type, the car consisted essentially of a platform with a light barrier at the front.
On the Italian peninsula, the largest number of chariots come from Etruria and the surrounding regions. They are datable between the second half of the eighth and the fifth centuries B.C. and represent several varieties. None seems to have been used for fighting in battle. Most came to light in tombs after serving in life, they were buried with their owners, male and also female.
The Monteleone chariot belongs to a group of parade chariots, so called because they were used by significant individuals on special occasions. They have two wheels and were drawn by two horses standing about forty-nine inches (122 centimeters) apart at the point where the yoke rests on their necks. The car would have accommodated the driver and the distinguished passenger.
The shape of the car, with a tall panel in front and a lower one at each side, provided expansive surfaces for decoration, executed in repoussé. The frieze at the axle, the attachment of the pole to the car, and the ends of the pole and yoke all have additional figural embellishment.

The Materials of the Chariot
Although none of the substructure of the original chariot survives, except in one wheel, much information can be gleaned from details on the bronze pieces, other preserved chariots, and ancient depictions of chariots. Note that a chariot is represented on the proper left panel of the car.
The preserved bronze elements of the car were originally mounted on a wooden substructure. The rails supporting the three main figural panels were made from a tree such as a yew or wild fig. The floor consisted of wooden slats. The wooden wheels were revetted with bronze, an exceptional practice probably reserved only for the most elaborate chariots. A bit of the preserved core has been identified as oak. The tires are of iron. The sections of the pole were mounted on straight branches.
A major component of the original vehicle was leather applied to the wooden substructure. The connection of the pole to the car would have been reinforced by rawhide straps gathered beneath the boar’s head, and the yoke would have been lashed to the pole. The upper end of the pole shows traces of the leather bands. In addition, all of the horses’ harness was of leather. Moreover, rings of pigskin with the fat attached helped reduce friction between the moving parts of the wheels.
The Monteleone chariot is distinguished not only by the extraordinary execution of the bronze panels but also by the inclusion of ivory inlays. The ivories, from both elephant and hippopotamus, are so fragmentary that only the tusks of the boar and the finials at the back of the car have been placed in their original positions. The remaining pieces are exhibited in a case on the south wall. A series of long narrow strips served as edging, perhaps around the panels of the car or on the underside of the pole. It is possible that other fragments filled the spaces between the figures in the central panel of the car. A major question concerning these adjuncts is the method of their attachment, requiring the use of an adhesive. Another question is whether the ivories were painted.

The Figures on the Chariot
The iconography represents a carefully thought-out program. The three major panels of the car depict episodes from the life of Achilles, the Greek hero of the Trojan War. In the magnificent central scene, Achilles, on the right, receives from his mother, Thetis, on the left, a shield and helmet to replace the armor that Achilles had given his friend Patroklos, for combat against the Trojan Hektor. Patroklos was killed, allowing Hektor to take Achilles’ armor. The subject was widely known thanks to the account in Homer’s Iliad and many representations in Greek art. The panel on the left shows a combat between two warriors, usually identified as the Greek Achilles and the Trojan Memnon. In the panel on the right, the apotheosis of Achilles shows him ascending in a chariot drawn by winged horses.
The subsidiary reliefs partly covered by the wheels are interpreted as showing Achilles as a youth in the care of the centaur Chiron and Achilles as a lion felling his foes, in this case a stag and a bull.
The central axis of the chariot is reinforced by the head and forelegs of the boar at the join of the pole to the car. The deer below Achilles’ shield appears slung over the boar’s back. The eagle’s head at the front of the pole repeats the two attacking eagles at the top of the central panel, and the lion heads on the yoke relate to the numerous savage felines on the car.
While the meaning of the human and animal figures allows for various interpretations, there is a thematic unity and a Homeric quality emphasizing the glory of the hero.

The Artistic Origin of the Chariot
The three panels of the car represent the main artistic achievement. Scholarly opinion agrees that the style of the decoration is strongly influenced by Greek art, particularly that of Ionia and adjacent islands such as Rhodes. The choice of subjects, moreover, reflects close knowledge of the epics recounting the Trojan War. In the extent of Greek influence, the chariot resembles works of virtually all media from Archaic Etruria. Contemporary carved ambers reflect a similar situation.
The typically Etruscan features of the object begin with its function, for chariots were not significant in Greek life of the sixth century B.C. except in athletic contests. Furthermore, iconographical motifs such as the winged horses in Achilles’ apotheosis and the plethora of birds of prey reflect Etruscan predilections. The repoussé panels may have been produced in one of the important metal-working centers such as Vulci by a local craftsman well familiar with Greek art or possibly by an immigrant bronze-worker. The chariot could well have been made for an important individual living in southern Etruria or Latium. Its burial in Monteleone may have to do with the fact that this town controlled a major route through the Appenine Mountains. The vehicle could have been a gift to win favor with a powerful local authority or to reward his services.
Beyond discussion is the superlative skill of the artist. His control of the height of the relief, from very high to subtly shallow, is extraordinary. Equally remarkable are the richness and variety of the decoration lavished on all of the figures, especially those of the central panel. In its original state, with the gleaming bronze and painted ivory as well as all of the accessory paraphernalia, the chariot must have been dazzling.

The Reconstruction
After the parts of the chariot arrived in the Museum in 1903, they were assembled in a presentation that remained on view for almost a century. During the new reconstruction, which took three years’ work, the chariot was entirely dismantled. A new support was made according to the same structural principles as the ancient one would have been. The reexamination of many pieces has allowed them to be placed in their correct positions. Moreover, the bronze sheathing of the pole, which had been considered only partially preserved, has been recognized as substantially complete.
The main element that has not been reconstructed is the yoke. Although the length is correct, the wooden bar simply connects the two bronze pieces.

Watch the video: Charioteer of Delphi (May 2022).