What was happening historically, politically, socially, religiously, intellectually, and/or economically at the time it was made?

Mesopotamia, now a part of Syria has experienced a turbulent history of invasions and war. What we see going on today is in many ways what has gone on since people first began living in that area. This is a particular history and has undoubtedly had an effect on the peoples who live there and therefore on the artwork they make.


A. In this assignment you are being asked to look for the affect that almost continuous war has had on this population as evidenced through their art work. You may consider artwork of the past or contemporary work.

B. Please refer to the list provided to guide your search. An example is the tradition of rug making. Contemporary rug makers in this region are now including patterns in their rugs that are based on helicopters, tanks and other objects of warfare. The rug makers are still using ancient techniques that have passed down many generations but now the content of the rugs reflect current conditions and the associated imagery.

1. Use the names of artists and art below to find one work of art to discuss in essay form. Identify the work of art by title, artist, period/style, genre, and geographic/cultural origin.
2. In your essay describe the art object in terms of the Visual Elements and Principles of Design, refer to the texts Part 1 Fundamentals, 1.1 – 1.10.
3. Through research, present what scholars have said about the meaning of that work of art in the context of the history of art. Please use proper MLA formatting.
4. Include in your discussion what the uses of the object/objects were at the time it was made and what the impact of that work of art has been on the culture who created it.
5. Your conclusions should include your interpretations of the work of art.

Contemporary Syrian Artists
Safwan Dahoul
Tammam Azzam
Iman Hasbani
Kais Salman
Saad Yagan
Abdul Kerim Majdal Al-Beik
Alice Al Khatib

Ancient Assyrian Art
Assyrian Relief of Nimrod
Lion Hunt from the Place Complex Assurnasirpal
Victory Stele of Narum-Sin

C. Follow the format and thoughtfully answer the questions below.

Important Points of an Art Image

Paragraph 1. Introduction
Make sure you have a thesis statement in the first paragraph – something you are trying to prove. Some ideas for a thesis could be: interpreting the meaning of the artworks, how theyre successful or unsuccessful, or proving a theme of the show that isnt obvious.
Use the supporting paragraphs to support your thesis. You should have:
P2. Identity
Who is the artist or is the artist unknown?
What period or style is it?
What is the name of the artwork?
To what culture does it belong?
Of what material/medium is it made?
What is its subject matter?

P3. Style
How big is it? Does its medium affect the quality?
What are its formal elements (line, color, composition, etc.)?
Is it abstract, naturalistic, idealistic, realistic, or a combination?
How is the subject being depicted?
What is the origin of the style? – Is it a combination of cultural styles?

P4. Function/Symbolism (Often relates to cultural context)
What was it used for? Why was it made?
It is sacred or secular?
Does it communicate a message? Is it asking for something?
Does it contain symbolism? What does it mean?

P5. Cultural Context
What was happening historically, politically, socially, religiously, intellectually, and/or economically at the time it was made?
What were qualities of life at the time and place the piece was made that may have affected its function and style?
Do historical events or overall aesthetic tastes relate to the image/story depicted?

Paragraph 6. Conclusion

D. Students will have one week to develop their essay.

E. This is a college-level course, and all written work will be graded accordingly. I read principally for content, although at this level of higher education, format is also very important. I stress the basics of standard practice in written English. Standard sentences with subject agreement, adequate grammar, and no typographical or spelling errors are considered the basics of college-level written communication.

F. Include a photograph (properly cited: title of work, artists name, date created, materials used, location of artwork and web source) of the selected artwork in paper

G. Include a citation page with 3 different, professionally accredited sources (museums, galleries and newspapers are considered professionally accredited).

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