Assyrian Art Analysis

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Innumerable works of art found in any of the myriad ancient artistic eras have specific purposes and are created with methods common in their particular setting. Many works dated to the period of Assyrian art (1363-612 BCE) share similar patterns of stylistic execution and representative meaning. The Relief of a Winged Divinity, an Assyrian artwork found in the throne room of the Northwest Palace of King Ashurnasirpal II in Nimrud, Iraq, presents a shallowly carved, highly detailed figure, probably representing the king, on a large slab of gypseous limestone accompanying lines of inscribed cuneiform, resembling an orthostat. The most remarkable aspect of this low relief is how the artist utilized common techniques of Assyrian art to create …show more content…
Although the human portion of the figure represents a proportional male, the eye sockets are unrealistically large. Furthermore, features such as the heavily muscled arm and the poised position accentuated by the man 's silhouette suggest that, besides the lack of realism, the human portion of the figure is idealized. The figure’s right arm, which is bent in an upward, shifting angle, has very defined muscles. indicating that the figure is probably holding something or moving the arm forward. The straight, eastern-facing gaze as well a possible stepping motion underneath the engraved drapery of the wider, lower silhouette also indicate controlled movement eastward. The figure is dressed with detailed beads in the beard as well as geometric patterns engraved on the incised drapery and headdress, suggesting wealth. There are also three handles of daggers tucked under the figure’s clothing beneath the right arm, possibly indicating strength and intimidation in battle. These qualities assert that the figure is most likely a ruler, particularly King Ashurnasirpal II. Alongside the large wings and highly detailed feathers, other animal-like characteristics are seen in the relief. On the figure’s right upper arm, two cow heads on elongated necks face each other. …show more content…
Cuneiform was one of the first methods of writing and captioning art, and the engravings contribute greatly to the relief’s image.1 Similarly, perspective was an expanding stylistic device that was achieved by varying the amount of observed depth in the relief. The feathers of the wings have different depths, giving a three dimensional texture to the low relief sculpture. The depth increases with objects meant to be accentuated, such as the figure’s reaching right arm, and decreases with those designed to be smaller and less-stressed, like the barely-visible geometric details on the edges of the king’s drapery. Also similar to many works in later periods is the use of diagonal lines.2 The diagonals found in the feathers, hair, and dagger handles of the figure all lead toward the center of the relief, allowing a viewer to focus on the work’s meaning as a

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