The Faces of ART Exploring PORTRAITURE through time

Since the beginning of creation there has been art, and as long as people have made art there have been portraits. For the first few thousand years at least, portraits, whether drawn, painted or sculpted, were mostly created for those deemed worthy enough to be honored with a work of art bearing their likeness or maybe even a god likeness. Royals, wealthy, and gods were commonly created in portraiture throughout art history.

The Faces of art throughout time have left us information on who we are, where we come from, who we worshipped, and how we've evolved. From the head of Sargon to the Mona Lisa portraiture has always been one of the most important links to our human history. Some are commissioned by the wealthy and royals whereas others are created through pure infatuation or love. In some cultures, portraits were depicted inaccurately to make a representation of a person perfect when in reality they weren't and others were created specifically for accuracy. Whoever the portraits are of are usually important because without modern day tools and technology artists spent many hours on portraits, nothing was just a quick job so the person needed to be important for it to be worth the time.

In this exhibition we are going to explore portrait sculptures from different regions of the world and different cultures. In this exhibition all of the sculptures are of rulers, which give us a look onto what people looked like in these regions in these time periods. We start with the portrait of Akkadian ruler believed to be sargon, is one of the oldest sculptures found today. Then we go on to the gold mask of Tutankhamun ruler of egypt. We also explore Pakal ruler of Ancient Maya in the Americas, the ruler of Ife, Africa and finally we look at Augustus of Primaporta, Rome.

Portrait of Akkadian Ruler

3000 BCE - 500 BCE, West Asia, Bronze Sculpture

This is a portrait of an Akkadian ruler some believe it is the ruler Sargon it is one of the most iconic and beautiful portraits of eastern art. Is made of bronze and stands 12 inches tall it is believed to be dated somewhere between 3000 BCE and 500 BCE. Sargon of Akkad, who came into power around 2340 BCE, was the first Mesopotamian ruler to unite Sumer and other Mesopotamian territories and convert them into one regime and proclaim himself king in his own right. Along with this government change came a change in artistic representation of humans. Before Sargon portraiture in Mesopotamia only featured devine beings.In the Akkadian/Sargon period, the rise of human sovereigns led to the creation of royal portraits that portrayed earthly rulers. This bronze portrait head is one of the first of these royal likenesses and that is why it is believed to represent Sargon.

Mask of Tutankhamun

c. 1323 B.C.E., Egypt, gold sculpture with inlay of enamel and stones

The Mask of Tutankhamun is considered one of the masterpieces of Egyptian art. It originally was discovered resting directly on the shoulders of the Tutankhamun mummy inside the innermost gold coffin in Egypt. It is constructed of two sheets of gold that were hammered together and weighs about 22 pounds. Tutankhamun is depicted wearing a striped headdress which was typically worn by pharaohs in ancient Egypt with the goddesses Nekhbet and Wadjet depicted as a Vulture and Cobra protecting his brow. He also wears a false beard that resembles him to the image of a god. He has a broad collar, which are shaped as falcon heads at the end of the terminals. The back of the mask is covered with a spell from the Book of the Dead, which the Egyptians used as a road map for the afterlife. This particular spell protects the various limbs of Tutankhamun as he crosses into the underworld.

Portrait head of Pakal

c. 650-83, Mexico, stucco sculpture

The portrait head of Pakal was found in the Tomb of the Mayans greatest ruler King Pakal. The tomb was inside the Temple of Inscriptions in Palenque Mexico, it was built by the Mayans in the period of c.650-83. This portrait of Pakal associates the king with the Maya maize god (his hair is meant to resemble corn silk) many Mayan rulers were associated with the Maize God. This portrait reveals the ideal beauty for Mayan culture as seen in the king’s oval face, elongated nose, and high cheekbones. King Pakal's body showed that he lived until about 683 C.E.

King K’inich Janaab’ Pakal, ruled from 615 to 683 C.E.,and initiated an ambitious architectural expansion at Palenque (which is now southern Mexico), an endeavor that was later continued by his sons. "Local lords such as Pakal, and other like him, each ruled over one of the many Maya city states, each with their own royal court." 1

1. www.khanacademy.org

Bronze Ife Head

The Ife Head, c. 14th-15th century, brass, 35 cm high, Ife, Africa

This beautiful brass sculpture is of an unknown person but what we do know is the person is african and was most likely royalty. Found in in 1938 it is one of a few different sculpture heads found in a palace in Ife, Africa (modern day Nigeria) and is approximately 800 years old. This prominent sculpture is just a bit smaller than actual life size may have been, sitting just a bit over 13 inches tall it is believed to be 3/4 of life size. We know that most likely this person is royalty by the crown that sits on top of his head and suggest that this person was associated with an Ooni, a ruler of Ife. But in ancient Africa not only were royals sculpted, it is known that African artists sculpted people of all ranks in society.

This sculpture is hollow and was made using the lost-wax technique, a technique that the artist would use a wax mold to shape the brass and melt away the wax once the sculpture is formed. The elegant sculpture features artistic lines or scars running down the face highlighting the perfect contour of the face. And mysterious holes around the mouth down the jaw line and near the ears, but no one knows exactly why these holes are there. The headdress still has some red pigment from the paint that used to cover it. And the bronze has shifted colors to a greenish blue color from its old aged.

Augustus of Primaporta

Augustus of Primaporta, 1st century C.E., marble, Rome

Augustus was a statesman and military leader who was the first Emperor of the Roman Empire, ruing Imperial Rome from 27 BC until his death in AD 14. His status as the founder of the Roman Principate has rewarded him an enduring legacy as one of the most important and controversial leaders in human history.

This life size marble sculpture was found in Augustus's wife Olivia's villa in Primaporta, Rome. But is more than likely not a one of a kind. its believed that Augustus displayed these statues throughout Rome during his rule to promote his image and show the people who he was. But this is just a showcase of propaganda for Augustus was surely not as athletic and heroic looking nor was he always young yet he was never shown any older than he is here. Augustus wanted to be portrayed very godlike with perfect greek body proportions. He also does this by showing cupid at his feet tugging on his clothing. Cupid is the son of the goddess Venus. Augustus did this because he traced his ancestry back to Aeneas the founder of Rome, and Aeneas was the son of Venus as well as Cupid. As well as claiming he is the son of the god (who was an actual person) Julius Caesar. He does this again with the art on Augusts's chest plate which shows an epic tale of Augustus and the Romans taking back their culture from the Parthenon's with the Gods looking over Agustus. This sculpture shows exactly how propaganda was used in Ancient Rome.

Created By
Jacob Rivera


Created with images by naidokdin - "stone carving thai culture buddha statue buddhist" • Sriom - "tutankhamun pharaoh gold mask king egyptian king"

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