Art Hist Paper 1 Essay
I chose to write about the “Sarcophagus Depicting a Battle Between Soldiers and Amazons (Warrior Women)”. A sarcophagus is a stone coffin usually bearing sculpture or inscriptions. Supposedly, This Roman cultured sarcophagus was dedicated for an important Roman soldier. It was built some time in between 140 A. D. to 170 A. D. and made out of marble. Sarcophagus were officially made by the Greeks, hence the pediment. Although this sarcophagus was built by the Romans they still added the triangular roof at the top of the coffin, which was also invented by the Greeks.
The scene on this coffin is of a battle between men soldiers and female warrior amazons. The battle scene that takes place on this casket is very interesting; it depicts different kinds of symbolism, emotion, and is more expressive. As i started to analyze this sarcophagus, the first thing I noticed was the five columns at the top of the pediment running downwards, having a loons head at the end. That being the first part, and the vivid battle scene displayed right under that.
The first thing that came to my mind when i saw the lions was how lions were used as a protective guardian figure in the ancient egyptian times, and it seemed as if these lions, or guardian figures, were watching over from up above, and protecting them. Also another thing i found interesting that was a little out of place to be put on this battle scene’d coffin was the image each four corners had. They all had the same image of a man and a woman kneeling down and also both faced down. he man is higher and looks as if he’s on top of the woman, and it seems as if they’re praying, or may even be asking for forgiveness. Their facial expression seems very focused and determined as to what they are doing. The four corners seem the most calm from the whole scene. As for the battle, which is completely opposite, has a very violent and vulgar environment being shown. The battle scene has a lot of raging actions being shown. The horses really caught my attention, because they all are in somewhat of a different stance. noticed the horses that are standing over the dead bodies look a little less energized and and ready to fight compared to the other horses. the horses over the dead body are looking down at the bodies and seem to have a depressed/gloomy look or expression. although the other horses are so full of energy and ready to win a battle. not only do the horses expression show that but the Amazons body structures! their body postures and positions show more aggressiveness than the soldiers.
The soldiers look as if they are being attacked and were caught off guard. They seem to be moving back and away from the Amazons, while on the other hand the Amazons are not stopping and going to attack. Also the women riding the horses symbolizes somewhat of a powerful characteristic for them, since they are in control of the horses. it can very easily be compared to a Equestrian portrait type, in which a young, energetic horse is being controlled by a strong powerful person. Also being noticed is the weapons being used in this battle.
Both are wearing helmets, and tunics. the Women are using swords and the men are wearing plates of body armor and are using shields. The soldiers seem to have a relaxed pose for them being in the middle of a battle. They don’t seem to be too tensed, they are just simply leaning back and holding up their shield rather than facing the warrior women and actually fighting back. they seem to be in a composite, contrapposto stance. The dead bodies of the women’s seem to be more idealized, rather than individualized. hey each have the same posture on the ground and look as if they died peacefully, even though the environment wasn’t peaceful. Not only does this sarcophagus environment not seem smooth, but neither is the texture. The battle scene seems to have a rigid kind of texture due to the drapery looking effect from the tunics and also the detailed work on the animals and human figure, for example the horses hair and the humans helmet. Although the top of the coffin, the pediment, seems very smooth since there is not much carved into in that area.
This funeral bed uses a high relief technique, instead of the images being carved into a flat surface they seem to project out towards the viewer. Although there is no color used, the high relief causes a shadowing effect. Even though this sculpture is not in color you can still tell that there is movement taking place in this scene. You can tell the horses and the women riding the horse are in movement because most of the horses front legs are bent in the air while the back legs are bent on the ground, positioned like they are currently mobile. nd Also you can tell that they are in motion because the Amazons capes and tunics are being blow by the wind. the soldiers seem to be mobile opposed to the women seeming to be more immobile. The women are on horses while the soldiers are standing with both feet on the ground. I also noticed that the coffin has a design going all around the bottom and the top of the scene, which reminded me of the Greek ionic order, as to being more decorative and having the pediment.