Ch 16: Art and Anthropology

About This Chapter

Watch online anthropology video lessons to learn about art in ancient, medieval and modern cultures. These engaging lessons are just a portion of our online study guide and video collection.

Art and Anthropology - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

If you're interested in exploring the power of art as an instrument of cultural change, this chapter is for you. Our instructors walk you through several examples of how architecture, sculpture, painting and other mediums have been used throughout history for political purposes or to express religious devotion. They can also help you examine art's functional and decorative uses through lessons covering the characteristics of art in:

  • Mesopotamia
  • Ancient Egypt
  • The Persian Empire
  • Western Europe

Video Objectives
Art as a Representation of Culture Explore the relationships between art, culture and religion. Learn how art is transmitted from one generation to the next.
Sumerian Art and Architecture Study the Sumerian's use of cuneiform and cylinder seals. Examine the architectural achievements of the ancient city of Ur.
Assyrian Art and Architecture Identify resources used by Assyrians to build expansive palaces. Explore subjects of their relief carvings.
Ancient Egyptian Art: History and Style Examine characteristics of Egyptian paintings, sculptures and pottery. Learn how they coincide with various periods in Egyptian history.
Ancient Persian Art and Architecture: History & Style Recognize influences on Persian architecture, reliefs and metalwork in the Achaemenid era.
Early Christian Art: History, Characteristics & Symbolism Study symbolism found on the sarcophagi, mosaics and illuminations in early Christian churches.
Byzantine Art: Mosaics, History & Characteristics Consider Christian influences on Byzantine art, and explore the uses of religious iconography.
Carolingian Art: History, Style & Characteristics Identify causes of the Carolingian Renaissance. Take a look at notable illuminations and treasure bindings created during this era.
Romanesque Art: History, Characteristics & Style Follow the emergence of Romanesque sculptural decorations and stained glass windows. Discover some of the first examples of secular art.
Gothic Sculpture and Stained Glass Windows: Characteristics & Style Pinpoint distinguishing features of Gothic cathedrals' stained glass windows and freestanding sculptures.
Gothic Painting: Style & Characteristics Examine early attempts at realism and perspective in Gothic frescoes, murals and panels.
Renaissance Art: Artists, Paintings, Sculptures & Architecture Survey some of the humanist and classical themes appearing in Renaissance art.
Baroque Painting: Style, Characteristics & Artists Explore the works of such painters as Caravaggio, Velazquez and Rembrandt.
Baroque Sculpture: Characteristics & Style Learn how the realism and technical mastery of Baroque sculpture set it apart from the work of other eras.

14 Lessons in Chapter 16: Art and Anthropology
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Art as a Representation of Culture

1. Art as a Representation of Culture

Why do anthropologists care about art? This lesson examines different approaches to art and how these expressions of culture are passed on from one generation to the next.

Sumerian Art and Architecture

2. Sumerian Art and Architecture

This lesson explores the artwork of one of the earliest civilizations: the Sumerians. Sumerians created beautiful works of art that inspired other cultures for centuries after their decline.

Assyrian Art and Architecture

3. Assyrian Art and Architecture

This lesson explores the unique characteristics of a fierce and violent culture: the Assyrians. The Assyrians were a warrior culture living in ancient Mesopotamia who used art and architecture to display their power.

Ancient Egyptian Art: History and Style

4. Ancient Egyptian Art: History and Style

This lesson provides a brief look at the exquisite art of the Ancient Egyptians. Egyptian art contains images of people and deities that represent the culture in which they lived.

Ancient Persian Art and Architecture: History & Style

5. Ancient Persian Art and Architecture: History & Style

This lesson explores the artwork of one of the most powerful and expansive empires in history: the Persian Empire. Persian artwork contained vivid imagery that recorded the success of the Persian kings in battle and their cultural tendencies.

Early Christian Art: History, Characteristics & Symbolism

6. Early Christian Art: History, Characteristics & Symbolism

This lesson covers the development of early Christian art. We begin in the catacombs of Rome, looking at early Christian frescoes. We then move to later sarcophagi. A brief survey of early Christian mosaics follows, and we close with the fine art of illuminated manuscripts.

Byzantine Art: Mosaics, History & Characteristics

7. Byzantine Art: Mosaics, History & Characteristics

This lesson covers Byzantine art and explains the difficulties of imposing artistic periods. Justinian is introduced as the man behind the Byzantine Golden Age. We explore the interesting dynamic between Byzantine imperialism and Christian religion. Finally, we take a brief look at eastern religious icons.

Carolingian Art: History, Style & Characteristics

8. Carolingian Art: History, Style & Characteristics

This lesson covers the art of the Carolingian Renaissance. We'll explore the causes of the Carolingian Renaissance, then see how the art of illumination was adapted for new uses. Then we'll discuss treasure bindings and finish with a quick survey of the few other surviving forms of Carolingian art.

Romanesque Art: History, Characteristics & Style

9. Romanesque Art: History, Characteristics & Style

This lesson covers the explosion of Romanesque art in the 11th century. We briefly explore the causes behind this movement. Then we look at the two most notable forms of Romanesque art: sculptural decoration and stained glass windows. Finally, we examine the emergence of medieval secular art.

Gothic Sculpture and Stained Glass Windows: Characteristics & Style

10. Gothic Sculpture and Stained Glass Windows: Characteristics & Style

In this lesson, we cover the development of Gothic architectural decoration, specifically decorative sculpture and stained glass windows. You'll learn about Gothic use of stained glass and the evolution of sculpture from Romanesque decoration to Gothic statues.

Gothic Painting: Style & Characteristics

11. Gothic Painting: Style & Characteristics

This lesson follows the development of two trends in Gothic painting: realism and perspective. We explore the origins of these movements in Italian Gothic masters, like Duccio, Giotto and the Lorenzetti Brothers, and their later expression in Northern European illuminations.

Renaissance Art: Artists, Paintings, Sculptures & Architecture

12. Renaissance Art: Artists, Paintings, Sculptures & Architecture

In this lesson, we will be discussing Renaissance art, focusing primarily on paintings, sculptures, and architecture. We will also be learning how humanism affected the art of this time period.

Baroque Painting: Style, Characteristics & Artists

13. Baroque Painting: Style, Characteristics & Artists

This lesson covers the development of Baroque painting as it spread across Europe. We explore the works of Caravaggio in Italy, Velazquez in Spain, Rubens in Belgium, Lorrain in France and Rembrandt in Holland.

Baroque Sculpture: Characteristics & Style

14. Baroque Sculpture: Characteristics & Style

In this lesson, we explore the development of Baroque sculpture across Europe, from the creations of the Italian genius, Bernini, to France and the sculptural excellence of Puget's glorified King Louis XIV. We'll also stop in Germany, Spain and Belgium.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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