The selected pieces of art include the following: “Minoan Jug,” “Tamerlane in Damascus,” and “Vase with four green handles.” The criteria used to choose these artworks involved establishing how artists from different periods used their arts to communicate different civilizations’ cultures and associated concepts, values, and themes. In this case, unity, a sense of belonging, courage, peace, and harmony emerged as the most prominent ideas among artists.
The main theme that cut across the three pieces of art is identity. According to Sachant (2016), without identity, individual artists are least likely to attain and maintain relevance because the artist’s ability to identify with a given theme or subject matter determines their survival in the highly competitive and volatile art industry. In other words, how a painter or sculptor expresses themselves plays a central role in defining and shaping their distinctive or unique identity. In this context, identity emerges as the strongest identity because the audience would always ask what inspired the artist to create it. For the selected artworks that can be traced back to Greece, France, and Syria in different periods, responsible artists must have been compelled by specific reasons. In particular, the main reason that manifests across these three artworks is the promotion of culture.
The first artwork, “Minoan Jug,” created in 1450 BCE, is a true representation of gradual developments in Greek art. During this time, the Minoan culture revolved around naturalism, which means artists and the general public emphasized gaining a deeper understanding of plant, animal, and sea life (Sachant et al., 2016). Additionally, the Greek elite could spend their fortunes to acquire pieces of art made from ceramic and bronze because the material was highly regarded and attracted value and a sense of belonging and affluence. Equally important, bronze served as the most popular metal, which means the Greek culture also prioritized economic progress besides pottery and other forms of art. Concisely, this art piece would interest culture-conscious individuals, especially archaeologists and people who want to understand periodic changes in cultures from one generation to another.
Apart from the “Minoan Jug,” the second artwork, “Tamerlane in Damascus,” originates from Syria, depicting the country’s destruction in 1400CE by the Timur armies. A look at the picture creates a picture of power versus obedience and humility. Specifically, Ibn Khaldun is seen on his knees pleading with Tamerlane. Tamerlane and his soldiers have guns and other weapons from this painting, meaning they have invaded and conquered Damascus, leaving the Syrian city in ruins. During this time, artists utilized their art skills to represent the effect of war. While some sought to show the rejuvenating Syria, hope, most artworks depicted the pain Syrians endured. Ultimately, this painting intended to communicate humility and perseverance as individual Syrians’ identity amid war and turmoil. Therefore, this artwork will appeal to history students worldwide, tourists planning to visit Damascus and other Syrian cities, and the young Syrian generation.
The third and last artwork was chosen is Auguste Delaherche’s “Vase with four green handles,” an 1889-ceramics pottery that depicts the French Revolution. The colors blue, red, and white represent the French flag (Museum Organization, 2021). Typically, a national flag is a symbol of identity because it unites citizens of a given country or group everywhere they go. In this respect, the piece of art would appeal to any given person worldwide because it is a reminder of their achievement, existence, identity on the global stage, and sacrifices.
Images of your Selected Artworks
By Zayde Antrim (1400CE)
Vase with four green handles
By Auguste Delaherche (1889)
Museum Organization. (2021). Vase with four green handles. https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/239565
Sachant, P. J., Blood, P., LeMieux, J., & Tekippe, R. (2016). Introduction to Art: Design, context, and meaning. Dahlonega, GA: University of North Georgia Press.