By Erwin Christensen
Stunning western pix, with background
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Extra resources for A Pictorial History of Western Art
Small as they sent are, Mesopotamian animals in the — lions, these pictorial seal impressions repreat its best. The subjects are often art monsters, manner of a and figures in combat, arranged each other in armorial frieze or facing fashion. A roaring lion standing on his hind legs with front paws showing claws extended faces a winged horse. A small foal is running toward the Pegasus as if to seek protection from the fiercely aggressive lion. Details muscles, the lion's mane, the horse's wings are simplified, stylized, without loss of a basic realism.
At the bottom, two groups figures are eating and drinking. Each man bends task in a slightly different way, and those walking of seated to his 43 A PICTORIAL HISTORY 44 OF WESTERN ARTl downhill have strides of their own. If the style of the seal impressions may be compared to lofty poetry, the historical alabaster reliefs are matter-of-fact prose. Ashurbanipal and queen The (III. 27) achieves a sense of massive pageantry where! are set against a background of lush vegetationj and heavy-set furniture.
When the cylinder is impressed on clay its raised — 40 — ANCIENT NEAR EASTERN ART 41 is revealed. Seals were used for marking bales of goods; they were art for commercial purposes. The exact meaning of the subjects is often unknown, although mythology is believed to be involved. Thus art was stimulated by the needs of placing seals on documents and goods. Individual enterprise was encouraged: the Code of Hammurabi [p. 53] was also a commercial code, which regulated trading; fixed prices and wages and; provided for contracts, rates of interest, promissory notes, letters of credit and incidentally commercial art, applying a modern term to seal designs.
A Pictorial History of Western Art by Erwin Christensen