The Cleveland Museum of Art Classical Art: Ancient Greece and Rome

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The ClevelandMuseum of ArtClassical Art: AncientGreece and RomeAlicia Hudson Garr2ContentsCopyright 2002 by the Cleveland Museum of ArtWritten by Alicia Hudson Garr, with timeline andcaptions by Michael Starinsky. Timeline drawingby Carolyn K. Lewis. Special thanks to the docentclass of 200102 for their research on the objectsand to Joan G. Hudson for helping the author withcontent and editing suggestions.Reproduction is permitted for educational purposesonly.Cover: Hydria, c. 520 BC. Attributed to AntimenesPainter (Greek, 530510 BC). Black-figure terracotta.Purchase from J. H. Wade Fund 1975.1www.clevelandart.orgWe encourage teachers and students to visit theCleveland Museum of Art in person. We also en-courage teachers and students to visit the museumsWeb site, where information about the permanentcollection and educational programs can be found.3 Introduction8 Timeline12 List of Objects13 Lesson Plan14 Webbing Ancient Greece14 Webbing Ancient Rome15 Suggestions for Further Reading15 Vocabulary List3While more than two thousand years have passedsince the height of the civilizations of ancient Greeceand Rome, their achievements have had a profoundimpact on modern Western society. Sophisticatedconcepts of government, scientific inquiry, andphilosophical thoughteven some of our sportingeventshave their roots in these societies. Greekand Roman mythology has provided subject matterfor countless works of literature. Subjects and stylesin the visual arts, from the naturalistic proportionsof Greek statuary to the portrait-like depictions of in-dividuals characteristic of Roman art, have clearlyinfluenced successive cultural periods such as theRenaissance in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries,Neoclassicism in the eighteenth and nineteenth cen-turies, and Postmodernism in the twentieth century.This Art To Go lesson will allow students to makea direct, tactile connection with the ancient culturesof Greece and Rome, a greater understanding ofwhich can lead to a better understanding of modernWestern culture and art.Ancient Greek ArtIn museum galleries, the ancient Greek art is usuallyeasy to findthe ceramics are orange and black, andthe statues are usually male and nude! While itwould be difficult to bring a sculpture out to a class-room, included in this suitcase are three examples ofthe best-known styles of vase painting from ancientGreece. Greek ceramics differ from other wares pro-duced at about the same time in the method used todecorate them. Firing the clay in an oxygen-rich kilnIntroduction4created the orange color found on vases produced inAthens, as most were. The black came from a wa-tered-down version of the same clay, painted on aleather-hard vessel, that turned black in a reduction-atmosphere kiln. These two colors are fundamentalto ancient Greek ceramic decoration: when the fig-ures on a vase are in black, the decorative process isreferred to as black-figure ware; when the back-ground is black, with the figures in red, the decora-tive process is called red-figure ware. Althoughboth styles were used simultaneously in the sixthcentury BC, by the fifth and fourth centuries BC, red-figure was a more popular choice for vase painters.This lesson contains examples of both styles ofvase painting. The Trefoil Oinochoe (a wine jug) fromthe Greek-speaking colonies of South Italy is deco-rated in the red-figure style. The Stemless Kylix (awine cup) was completely covered in black slip(sometimes called black ware), perhaps to imitatethe effect of unpolished, blackened silver, a fashionof the time. The third vase in the lesson, Lekythoswith the Ninth Labor of Herakles (a perfume jug), ex-emplifies the last major category of ancient Greekvase decoration: white-ground ware, which takes itsname from the layer of kaolin painted as the back-ground for the figures. The kaolin, applied before thevessel was fired and the figures painted, created anunstable, flaky base that made these wares unsuitablefor everyday use; soon it was used only on vases thatwould be placed in tombs as grave gifts. Once thesewares were relegated to the tomb, artists were able toexperiment and use nontraditional colors such as yel-low and blue in white-ground wares.Stemless KylixThis kylix was foundin northern Africa;describe how it mayhave gotten therefrom Greece.What beverage doyou think was sippedfrom this kylix in an-cient times? Whatwould you like to drinkfrom it today?Lekythos withthe Ninth Laborof HeraklesIf we were making alekythos in honor ofyou and one of yourlifes labors, whatwould we see?Trefoil OinochoeWe know where thisoinochoe was made be-cause of the decorativemotif painted on its ex-terior. How do weknow where objects aremade in modern times?5The subject matter of ancient Greek vases rangesfrom scenes of everyday life, such as an athletecleaning up after a workout, to complex multi-fig-ured scenes of mythology, such as one of the twelvelabors of Heraklesas found on the lekythos.Greek sculpture ranged in size from the monu-mental to the intimate, from statues meant to beseen in public places to smaller household-sizedstatues of the gods. Greek sculpture always had afunction, whether to honor an Olympic victor alongthe procession way leading to a temple or to repre-sent a god as a dedication in a temple. Once the Ro-mans began to import Greek sculpture to theirhomeland (as early as the second century BC), theyremoved its context, took away its function, andused it for decoration. After the famous originalsculptures were no longer available, Greek artistswere brought to Rome, and copies of the originalswere made by the hundreds. In fact, such Romancopies often provide all the information we haveabout ancient Greek sculpture. Wealthy Romansbuilt lavish villas outside Rome that were decoratedwith wall paintings, floor mosaics, and, frequently,mythological groupings of sculpture done in the an-cient Greek style. The two pieces of sculpture in-cluded in this lesson (the marble Head of a Goddessand the terracotta Head of Medusa) look as thoughthey could be from Greece but probably are of Ro-man origin. Without knowing exactly where theywere found, it is difficult to know their function, buteach probably fit somehow into the decorativescheme of a Roman villa.Head of MedusaWhy would one displaythe face of a monsteras a decorative object?Can you name anymodern-day femalemonsters?Head of a GoddessLets assume this sculp-ture is indeed Venus,the Roman goddess ofbeauty and love. Canyou name someonewho might serve as amodel for the goddessof beauty and lovetoday? What are thedifferences betweenancient and moderngoddesses?6Ancient Roman ArtBecause many Greek and Roman writers did not be-lieve that the details of everyday life were fittingsubject matter for literature, an analysis of the ob-jects these cultures left behind provides our only in-sight into the daily lives of the people. While thenext four objects in the lesson may not be examplesof the finest art made by the Romans, they do offerinsight into the various aspects of Roman art andculture regarding the army, commerce, entertain-ment, and educational practices.The Romans created the largest empire in the an-cient world through the superior organization andtechnical abilities of an army; once the empire hadbeen created, the army defended its boundariesfrom the many envious peoples who wanted to en-joy the benefits of Roman civilization. Swords,spears, and bows and arrows made up the tradi-tional weaponry of the Roman army. The use of asling was part of the basic training of all Roman sol-diers; slings were lightweight, portable, and couldbe used at a distance too great for swords andspears. Lead bullets were launched from theseslings; while these objects may seem small andharmless, the bullet in the lesson could inflict a lotof damage when hurled by a trained slinger. TheSling Bullet has a stamped inscription, LEG XX, areference to the Roman legion that used itLegion20. Legion 20 was nicknamed Valeria Victrix (val-iant and victorious), probably because of its militarySling BulletWhat message(s) wouldyou imprint on a bulletif you were a slinger?Did soldiers in WorldWar II write messageson bullets and bombsaimed at the enemy?7successes in Britain in the first century AD. Leadsling bullets were likely made right on the battle-field and often inscribed with the users name.Some have been found with insults inscribed onthem, giving new meaning to the phrase adding in-sult to injury.Because the Roman Empire extended across mod-ern-day Euorpe and the Middle East, commerce wasconducted across great distances. The Romans cre-ated products that were in demand throughout theempire, from their own particular type of ceramics(which differed from the Greek) to perfumes andspices housed in novel glass containers, some ofwhich contained garum, a fermented fish sauce thatwas used frequently as a condiment (supposedlymuch like ketchup). In turn, the empire providedRome with foreign luxury items such as ivory tusksand animal pelts, and more practical items such asgrain to feed its city welfare population. Whilebarter was always an element of ancient commerce,money could travel greater distances and createmore efficient transactions. The value of a Romancoin was based on the precious metal containedtherein, so weight was checked from time to time onbalance scales. Objects to be weighed were hungfrom a hook or placed in a pan hanging beneath ashort arm; a counterweight (of known amount) hungfrom the long arm. The weight was moved closer tothe fulcrum when weighing lighter objects and far-ther away when weighing heavier ones. The Steel-yard Weight in the form of an amphora (storage jar)was used on a balance scale. Ancient ships haveSteelyard WeightAlong with importantgovernment officials,animals were some-times depicted onweights and coins inancient times. Whatanimals would you as-sign to our penny (be-hind Abraham Lincoln),nickel (behind ThomasJefferson), dime (be-hind Franklin D.Roosevelt), and quarter(behind George Wash-ington)?8TimelineTimelineClassical Art:Ancient Greeceand RomeArt To Go SuitcaseHighlights inArt and WorldHistoryLekythos500 BCStemless Kylix400 BCTrefoil Oinochoe300 BCHead of aGoddess100 BC330163 BCHellenisticEra2600 BCEgyptians build pyra-mids at Giza1750 BCCode of Hammurabi,first known legal docu-ment, carved in stonefor a Babylonian king1250 BCLions Gate atMycenae600330 BCArchaicandClassicalGreece432 BCParthenonfinishedat Acropolisin Athens3000 BC1400700 BCMycenaean andGeometric eras2000 BC 1000 BC51031 BCRoman Republic0The Art of Writing Ancient AmericasLets Discover Egypt163 BCRomans conquerGreece9Gladiator Oil Lamp100 ADSling Bullet300 ADHead of Medusa400 ADSteelyardWeight400 AD31 BC AD 395Roman EmpireBirth ofChrist1000 AD 1500 AD 2002 ADYouarehere0Cool Knights Native American Art79 ADMt. Vesuvius erupts, Pompeiiburied80 ADColosseum finished at Rome324 ADConstantine moves capital ofRoman Empire from Rome toConstantinople, beginning ofByzantine era410 ADGoths sack Rome,end of RomanImperial era1450Gutenberg inventsthe printing press1492Columbus sailsthe ocean blue1503Da Vincipaints theMonaLisa1776Founders of the UnitedStates sign Declaration ofIndependence1879Edison invents thelight bulb10been found loaded with amphorae, which wouldhave been quite heavy when full of wine, thus mak-ing this choice of image appropriate for a weight.One of the benefits of Roman citizenship was theright to bread and circusesbasically, free breadfor citizens who needed the subsidy and state-spon-sored entertainment. Chariot races were among themore popular forms of entertainment enjoyed by Ro-man citizens. However, based on the amount of artdevoted to the subject, it seems that contests be-tween gladiators were even more popular with themasses. During the Roman Republic, such battlesprobably were only celebrated in honor of a de-ceased noble, but by the time of the early Empirethey had developed into a form of popular entertain-ment. Gladiators could be condemned prisoners-of-war or even women, but those who freely enteredthe profession and survived their three-year com-mitment seem to have enjoyed the popularity andmonetary success of todays sports stars. The figureon the Oil Lamp with Image of a Gladiator is dressedas a Samnite, one the historical enemies of ancientRome.While many of the subjects taught in ancient Ro-man schools are similar to those studied today(reading, writing, arithmetic), some elements weredifferent. One ancient author, Martial, commentedthat teachers relied on the scourge and cane not somuch for discipline but to awaken slow wits. Schooldays, which began with candlelight before dawn,were very long for Roman children. Because writingmaterials such as papyrus and parchment were rela-Oil Lamp with theImage of a GladiatorThroughout historysport and combat havebeen viewed as one.Can you name otherexamples in historywhere hurting or evenkilling your opponentwas the name of thegame?11tively expensive, students learned to write inwooden books called codices that were filled withwax, which could be inscribed with a sharpinstrument, smoothed over to erase, and used again.Wood was a highly perishable material and very feworiginal codices have been preserved; the Reproduc-tion Codicilla is a model of a Roman wax tablet.Writing and penmanship were certainly stressed inthe curriculum, as today; yet, more so than today,the art of oratory (public speaking) was consideredthe most important skill a young Roman could mas-ter to insure a promising career.The nine objects contained in this lesson are ex-amples of the artistic styles of both Greece andReproductionCodicillaHas the emphasis onpublic speakingchanged in schoolssince Roman times?If schools today fo-cused more on musicand physical education,as was the philosophyof ancient Greekschools, how wouldmodern students bedifferent?Where do you thinkvisual arts were taughtin ancient times?Rome and also represent interesting aspects of eachancient culture. In elucidating aspects of these twoClassical cultures, we will make connections withall educational disciplines through scientific in-quiry, discussion of mythology, and pointed ques-tioning. In the end, through this interactive processwe hope to instill the excitement we have aboutlearning in general and about the magnificent art ofancient Greece and Rome.12List of ObjectsLekythos with the Ninth Labor ofHeraklesGreek, c. 500 BCWhite-ground, black-figure ceramicBequest of Samuel L. Mather, 1932.194Stemless KylixGreek, found in North Africa, fifth century BCBlack-ware ceramicGift of Mrs. Eugene Geismer, TR12303/3Trefoil OinochoeSouth Italian, Paestum, c. 350300 BCRed-figure ceramicGift of Mrs. Eugene Geismer, TR12303/5Head of a Goddess (probably Venus)Roman, first century BCfirst century ADMarbleEducational Purchase Fund, 1922.1Head of MedusaRoman, found near Frascati, firstfourthcentury ADMolded terracottaEducational Purchase Fund, 1918.52Sling BulletRoman, firstthird century ADLeadGift of Robert Hecht, 1985.1061Steelyard WeightRoman, found near Lake Nemi, firstfourthcentury ADLeadEducational Purchase Fund, 1918.64Oil Lamp with Image of a GladiatorRoman, first century ADMolded terracottaThe Harold T. Clark Educational ExtensionFund, 1989.1003Reproduction CodicillaTwentieth century, after an ancient RomanoriginalWood, black waxAnonymous Gift, S45/71The Ancient World13ResourcesLesson Plan FocusStudents will be introduced to the arts of theancient Greeks and Romans through worksof art from the Art To Go collection. Thelesson will be suited to grades three througheight but can be presented to older audiencesas well.PurposeThe goal is to bring greater understanding ofpast cultures, in particular those that had adirect impact on later Western art.MotivationStudents will be motivated through a direct,hands-on experience. Students may be fur-ther inspired through classroom discussionduring the presentation, or through follow-upquestions or art projects provided by theclassroom teacher.ObjectivesStudents will learn about the fine art of an-cient Greek ceramic production and Greekand Roman sculptural traditions; students willalso experience elements of the material cul-ture of the ancient Romans, which reflectmore on daily life than on artistic practices.The lesson will prepare students to identifycharacteristics of Greek art, characteristics ofRoman art, and ways in which the two typesof art are similar.Students will be able to connect storiesfrom Greek and Roman myths with theircounterparts in the visual arts.Students will be attuned to how the choiceof material affects the final appearance of awork of art.Students will derive a sense of the timelineof ancient art through the specific cultures ofthe Greeks and the Romans.ParticipationStudents will be asked questions from simpleto complex; students will be asked to problemsolve through pointed questions designed tohelp them identify what they see; studentswill use critical thinking skills while handlingartifacts from ancient Greek and Rome.Comprehension CheckThe Art To Go presenter will ask the studentsquestions as the lesson is taught to see if theyunderstand the material; to help them iden-tify what they see, students will be engagedwith questions as the objects are passed. Theclassroom teacher will be able to reinforcewhat they have learned in the lesson withcurriculum ideas from this packet; teachersmay also incorporate ideas from the lesson inan art project.ClosureStudents will be able to reinforce what theyhave learned in the Art To Go presentation byvisiting the Greek and Roman galleries in theCleveland Museum of Art, where they will beable to make connections between what theysaw in the lesson and what is on view in themuseum.Journey to AsiaJourney to Japan:A Passport toJapanese ArtLets Discover EgyptMasks: Lets Face ItMaterials andTechniques of theArtistCool Knights: Armorfrom the EuropeanMiddle Ages andRenaissanceDiego Rivera:A Mexican Hero andHis CultureJourney to Africa:Art from Central andWest AfricaArt To GoSuitcasePresentationsAncient Americas:Art fromMesoamericaThe Art of Writing:The Origin of theAlphabetClassical Art:Ancient Greece andRomeNative American Art:Clues From the PastProblem Solving:What in the World?Museum Zoo:Animals in ArtCOMING IN 2003Early America:Artistry of a YoungNation14ResourcesMathThe Greek quest for knowledge about thenatural world produced mathematicianswhose theorems are still used in geometrytoday. For example, Pythagorass theorems ontriangles and the use of pi to calculate thecircumference of a circle. Discuss how knowl-edge of geometry would have been essentialfor construction of Greek buildings such astheaters and temples.Discuss how Greek interest in mathematicalproportion lead to ideas about beauty in ar-chitecture, sculpture, and painting.Drama and MusicIdentify the relationship between mathemat-ics and musical chords, ideas that were for-mulated in ancient Greek times.Greek vase painting often depicts scenesfrom the theater. Identify the costumes ofactors in tragedies and comedies, and howthe masks they wore have become symbolsfor the acting profession today.Discuss how theater and music often had areligious connection, as for instance, newplays were introduced at the festival in honorof Dionysos. Examples can be found in gallery208.ScienceIdentify the elements in ancient Greek sculp-ture that suggest Greeks were familiar withscientific anatomy.The first Greek scientists, such asArchimedes and Alexander of Aphrodisias,were also philosophers. Define the term phi-losopher; define stoic philosophy as prac-ticed by the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius.Language ArtsAncient Greek art often takes its subject mat-ter from mythology. Examples that can befound in gallery 209 include representationsof the story of Herakles and the NemeanLion; Atalanta; Theseus and the Seven Youthsand Maidens; Dionysos and Satyrs. Read oneof the myths.Identify the ancient Greek alphabet. Discusswhy our written language takes its namefrom the Greek alpha and beta; find examplesin the galleries where Greek characters ap-pear in or on art.Visual ArtsIdentify some of the many known forms ofancient Greek pottery. Find examples ofvessels used for food consumption in gallery209. Discern if any connections can bemade between ancient Greek and moderntableware.WebbingAncientGreeceWebbingAncient RomeScienceDiscuss the chemical compounds silica, lime,and sodathe ingredients used to makeglass. Identify where the Romans could havefound these naturally occurring materials. Re-view how glass-making techniques used todayare essentially the same as those invented bythe ancient Romans.Social StudiesIdentify the differences between the earlierrepublican system of government versus thatestablished by Romes emperors. Review theroles of senators and emperors within thesesystems; locate examples of art in the galleriesthat depict people from these political classes;discuss why they become subjects for art.Identify the extent of the Roman Empire atits height in the second century AD. Examinethe role that Egypt played within that empire,and how some of the portraits of Egyptians ingallery 205 could also belong in a collectionof ancient Roman art.MathIdentify the Roman numeral system. Discusswhy Roman numerals are still in use today asmovie credits, or for inscriptions on buildings.Visual ArtsThe wealthier people of Romes populace en-joyed greater luxury than did even the aristo-crats of ancient Greece. Examples of luxuryitems include jewelry with carved gemstonesand cameos and silver banqueting vessels;locate examples within gallery 209.15Amazons. mythical race of female warriors,said to have lived in northern Turkey.amphora (pl. amphorae). storage vesselwith two handles connecting the neck andshoulder of the ware. technique for decoratingpottery by painting figures with a slip thatfires black.codicilla (pl. codices). plank of wood thathas been hollowed in the middle and filledwith wax, which could be inscribed with astylus (pointed instrument) and erased; typi-cally used by ancient Roman schoolchildren.hydria. water jar.legion. the most commonly referenced unitof the Roman military comprising about5,000 soldiers. There were about 30 legionsin service during the Imperial era of Rome.krater. vessel for mixing wine.kiln. place where ceramics are fired.kylix. wine cup with a stem and wide bowl.lekythos (pl. lekythoi). tall round jug forperfume.oinochoe. wine jug in the shape of a pitcherwith one handle.VocabularyListA list of terms thatmight be usedduring the lesson.Paestum. ancient city near the modern Italiancity of Naples, founded as Poseidonia byGreeks in the seventh century BC and renamedby the Romans in the third century BC. Likemany South Italian Greek-speaking colonies,Paestum was a center for ceramic productionin the fourth and third centuries BC.proportion. the ancient Greek artists concernwith creating an almost mathematical balancebetween parts of the human form in sculptureand painting (and architectural elements).red-figure ware. technique for decoratingpottery where figures are outlined in slip.Samnite gladiator. gladiator dressed torepresent one of Romes ancient enemies,carrying an oblong shield and a sword, andwearing a leather grieve on the left leg and ahelmet with a visor and a plume.slip. liquid clay.steelyard weight. weight of a known fixedamount used on a balance scale.stephane. tiara-like crown worn by someGreek and Roman goddesses, particularlyAphrodite/Venus.white-ground ware. technique for decorat-ing pottery where figures are painted on awhite, chalky, unfired surface.Suggestionsfor FurtherReadingCleveland Museum of Art PublicationsKozloff, Arielle P. Classical Art: A Brief Guideto the Collection. Cleveland Museum of Art,1989.Turner, Evan H. Masterpieces from East andWest. New York: Rizzoli International, 1992.Slide Packet: Classical Art. Cleveland Museumof Art, Department of Education and PublicPrograms.General Guides to Greek and Roman Artfor TeachersWilliams, Dyfri, and the British Museum.Greek Vases. Cambridge: Harvard UniversityPress, 1985. A succinct guide to all periods ofGreek vase painting, with many color photo-graphs and diagrams.Woodford, Susan. The Art of Greece andRome. Cambridge: Cambridge UniversityPress, 1982. A well-written and highly read-able guide for an introduction to the subject,with many photographs and illustrations.Ramage, Nancy H., and Andrew Ramage.Roman Art: Romulus to Constantine. NewYork: Abrams, 1991. One of the best texts tocover all periods of ancient Roman art history;many photographs.Greek and Roman Art for StudentsPlease check with your school librarian for amore complete list.James, Simon. Ancient Rome (a DK Eyewit-ness book). New York: Dorling Kindersley,2000 edition. Another excellent work fromthe Eyewitness series. DK books are full ofcolor photographs to illustrate each relevanttopic, as well as photographs of originalworks of art from the period discussed.Peach, Susan, and Anne Millard. The Greeks.London: Usborne Publishing, 1990. An illus-trated guide to many aspects of ancientGreek society, including clothing and jewelry,childhood and education, and temples, wor-ship and festivals; a timeline in the back.THE CLEVELANDMUSEUM OF ARTDepartment of Educationand Public Programs11150 East BoulevardCleveland, Ohio441061797ART TO GO SERVICES2167072160TDD 2164210018FAX 2164219277info@clevelandart.orgClassical Art:AncientGreece andRomeThe museumreceives operat-ing supportfrom the OhioArts Council.


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