02. Ancient Mediterranean Art & Humanities

AP Art History: Purpose & Audience in Ancient Mediterranean Art

July 28, 2020
*Note: The enduring “Enduring understanding,” “Learning Objective,” & “Essential Knowledge” language comes from the 2019 AP Art History Curriculum and Exam Guide.

Enduring Understanding: A variety of purposes may affect art and art making, and those purposes may include, but are not limited to, intended audience, patron, artistic intention, and/ or function. Differing situations and contexts may influence the artist, patron, or intended audience, with functions sometimes changing over time, and therefore affecting the role these different variables may play in art and art making.

Learning Objective: Explain how purpose, intended audience, or patron affect art and art making.

Essential Knowledge: Artistic traditions of the ancient Near East and dynastic Egypt focused on representing royal figures and divinities, as well as on the function of funerary and palatial complexes within their cultural contexts.

Ancient Near Eastern & Egyptian art representing royal figures and divinities in the 250:

Egyptian funerary complexes in the 250:

Ancient Near Eastern palatial complexes in the 250: 

        • #30. Audience Hall (apadana) of Darius and Xerxes Persepolis, Iran. Persian. c. 520–465 BCE. Limestone.

Essential Knowledge: Architectural representations include towering ziggurats that provide monumental settings for the worship of many deities, as well as heavily fortified palaces that increased in opulence over the centuries, proclaiming the power and authority of rulers.

Essential Knowledge: The culture of dynastic Egypt represents an elaborate funerary sect whose devotees created numerous ka statues (to house the ka, or spirit, after death), artifacts, decorations, and furnishings for tombs.

Egyptian funerary art & architecture in the 250:

Essential Knowledge: The art of Ancient Greece and Rome is grounded in civic ideals and polytheism. Etruscan and ancient Roman art express republican and imperial values, power, and preference for conspicuous display. Etruscan and Roman architecture are characterized by investment in public structures.

Ancient Greek & Roman art representing civic ideals in the 250:

Ancient Greek, Etruscan, & Roman art representing polytheism in the 250:

        • #31. Temple of Minerva (Veii, near Rome, Italy) and sculpture of Apollo. Master sculptor Vulca. c. 510–500 BCE. Original temple of wood, mud brick, or tufa (volcanic rock); terra cotta sculpture.
        • #35. Acropolis. Athens, Greece. Iktinos and Kallikrates. c. 447–410 BCE. Marble.
        • #38. Great Altar of Zeus and Athena at Pergamon. Asia Minor (present-day Turkey). Hellenistic Greek. c. 175 BCE. Marble (architecture and sculpture).
        • #43. Augustus of Prima Porta. Imperial Roman. Early first century CE. Marble.
        • #46. Pantheon. Imperial Roman. 118–125 CE. Concrete with stone facing.

Ancient Roman art representing republicanism in the 250:

        • #42. Head of a Roman patrician. Republican Roman. c. 75–50 BCE. Marble.

Ancient Roman art representing imperial values, power & conspicuous display in the 250:

        • #39. House of the Vettii. Pompeii, Italy. Imperial Roman. c. second century BCE; rebuilt c. 62–79 CE. Cut stone and fresco.
        • #40. Alexander Mosaic from the House of Faun, Pompeii Republican Roman. c. 100 BCE. Mosaic.
        • #43. Augustus of Prima Porta. Imperial Roman. Early first century CE. Marble.
        • #44. Colosseum (Flavian Amphitheater). Rome, Italy. Imperial Roman. 70–80 CE. Stone and concrete.
        • #45. Forum of Trajan. Rome, Italy. Apollodorus of Damascus. Forum and markets: 106–112 CE; column completed 113 CE. Brick and concrete (architecture); marble (column).
        • #46. Pantheon. Imperial Roman. 118–125 CE. Concrete with stone facing.

Etruscan and Ancient Roman public structures in the 250:

        • #31. Temple of Minerva (Veii, near Rome, Italy) and sculpture of Apollo. Master sculptor Vulca. c. 510–500 BCE. Original temple of wood, mud brick, or tufa (volcanic rock); terra cotta sculpture.
        • #44. Colosseum (Flavian Amphitheater). Rome, Italy. Imperial Roman. 70–80 CE. Stone and concrete.
        • #45. Forum of Trajan. Rome, Italy. Apollodorus of Damascus. Forum and markets: 106–112 CE; column completed 113 CE. Brick and concrete (architecture); marble (column).
        • #46. Pantheon. Imperial Roman. 118–125 CE. Concrete with stone facing.

Suggested Works: 

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