The term contrapposto is often used when describing classical, Renaissance, and later paintings and sculptures. But what exactly is contrapposto?
The World Between Two Empires shows art and artifacts made in the Middle East between about 100 BCE and 250 CE. It recently opened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but I got to see it during preview days. I really enjoyed seeing beauty and culture that I didn't know much about before.
Why do people talk about "walking like an Egyptian"? This strange phenomenon, which became a cult hit at one point, involves an unnatural posture where your shoulders face the side while everything else faces the front. When people try it, they usually also add strange head and arm movements. There's even a song about it.… Continue reading Don’t Walk Like an Egyptian, Because They Didn’t, Either! (a fun fact)
In the ancient city of Knossos, on the Aegean island of Crete, archaeologists found lots of beautiful frescos while excavating. Lots of them depicted scenes of everyday, real and imagined animals, and gorgeous foliage, but one of them depicted something far stranger - a trio of people vaulting over a bull.
Continuing with my earlier theme of art that inspires me, here is another example from the ancient world. During Egypt's Roman period (c. 30 BCE - 330 CE), many beautiful portraits were made in and around the area of Faiyum. They were mummy portraits, which means that they were attached to mummy wrappings to cover the mummy's head.
One type of art I've always loved is ancient Cycladic figurines. These little marble figures have been found on the Aegean islands of the Cyclades and were created in ancient times. They depict human figures and can be found in most major museums.
We're used to thinking of ancient Greek sculptures as plain white. We look at them and clearly see that they're made of white marble with no other colors whatsoever. But, the truth is exactly the opposite. Learn about how the ancient Greeks and Romans painted their statuary and see what this might have originally looked like.
In his Natural History, The ancient Roman historian Pliny the Elder tells a memorable tale about the world's first painter.
Roman historian Pliny the Elder tells a humorous story about two artists trying to outdo each other with their illusionistic paintings.
Conversation Between Two Hippos pairs the Met's famous mascot, William, with a 1936 adaptation by Carl Walters. As a big William fan, I was so excited to see the two hippos displayed together in the Metropolitan's ancient Egyptian wing.