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In the
previous two assignments, we have worked with the concept of formal
analysis.
Remember that formal analysis is performed through careful
looking, and requires no outside sources to be complete.
The next level of art historical analysis, according to a system
devised by art historian Erwin Panofsky, is iconography.
While formal
analysis focuses on the APPEARANCE of the artwork, iconography focuses
on its MEANING.
Here is a helpful link: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/i/iconography
(Links to an external site.)
For your response this week, please select one artwork from
our module.
First, perform a brief formal analysis of the work (around
one page).
THEN, devote around one page to explaining the works
iconography.
What is the MEANING of the work?
Here is a sample student iconographical analysis:
Walking through the Egyptian galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of
Art, I found representations of the Egyptian king, a pharaoh, depicted
in many different ways.
There were pharaoh statues, mummies, coffin
cases, figurines, reliefs, and drawings, all of which had key details
that identified the figures as an Egyptian pharaoh.
The three statues I
selected show the pharaoh wearing a traditional headdress.
The first
work is
Head of a King, possibly Mentuhotep III
(66.99.3).

From about 2000-1988 BCE, it is made of limestone and is just under life
size.
It has been damaged.
The second work,
Bust from Statue of a King
(no number, Gallery 23), under life-size, was made of granite between 664-595 BCE.
The final statue I chose was
Head of King Amenmesse
(34.2.2), made of quartzite around 1200 BCE, and it seemed to be about life size.

The three statues display an elaborate head covering. Both
Head of a King, possibly Mentuhotep III, and
Bust from Statue of a King
have
one that begins from the middle of the forehead and rises up before
stretching across the top of the head, with flat sides projecting out
from behind the ears. In the first one, the headdress ends just below
the chin, while in the second example, the headdress ends just above the
chest.
Both also are decorated with chiseled lines, vertical (on the
top) and horizontal (on the sides), spaced about a centimeter apart.

The third statue wears a headdress that rises above his head in a tall,
oval shape.
It is larger than the pharaoh’s head, and the crown is
rounded at the top with a flat back.
The headdresses are adorned with a standing cobra, called a
uraeus.
The uraeus was a symbol of royalty and divine authority in
ancient Egypt.
The first statue has been damaged and the uraeus itself
is missing, but the place where it once was is clear.
The cobra is very
noticeable in the other two sculptures.
Many of the people represented
in images and statues throughout the Egyptian galleries are wearing
headdresses, but only the royal figures (and very few important gods
like Osiris) also have the uraeus.

These statues depict very regal and powerful men, who look
straight ahead, with their heads held up, blank eyes wide open, and very
solemn expressions.
The right shoulder of
Bust from Statue of a King
indicates
that his posture was tall and straight.
The symmetry of their features
and the smoothness of their skin make them seem removed from us, their
viewers.
They are not part of our world.
This also suggests their
authority and power.

THIS IS THE ARTICLE ABOUT
https://smarthistory.org/ancient-near-east-cradle-of-civilization/