Throughout different time periods and civilizations come many different types of art that would never be comparable to those of another time or place. There are also the pieces that come from a completely different time and place, but yet they can still be compared to one another. The Torso of a God (Egyptian, New Kingdom, Dynasty 18, last decade of the reign of Amenhotep III, Granodiorite, 1359-1349 B. C. ) and the Statue of Asklepios (Greek, Hellenistic period, Pentelic Marble, 2nd century B.
C. are two sculptures made hundreds of years apart, yet they both display many similarities and show how art is constantly changing whilst keeping the same core ideas. The Torso of a God is a sculpture located at the Legion of Honor museum in San Francisco. The sculpture is of a pharaoh holding a staff in front of its chest with his left hand. In his right hand he is holding something that could possibly be a bell or a key, by his side.
The piece looks as though it never had legs past the knees due to the stability that exists and the fact that it appears to be flat on the area it sits on.
The head has broken off so that only the headpiece and beard can be seen and it is broken at an angle that the right shoulder is missing as well. The left arm is also missing except for the hand and shoulder. The back of the piece is flat as though the piece was originally located against a wall. This piece is about three feet tall and about two feet wide. The piece is smooth all over and even though certain areas are carved out, the piece still has a smooth glossy look.
The statue is wearing some sort of skirt that covers the area from the hips all the way down to the bottom of the piece. It also looks like the God is wearing a bracelet on his right wrist as well as a necklace underneath the beard and headpiece. The skirt and headpiece are shown by many vertical lines next to one another with a border around them to show where they stop. Other than the left leg that is slightly stepping forward this piece is shown in a uniform and still way. There is no movement and it is unrealistic in how motionless this God is being portrayed.
The statue shows the God in a good light and as a muscular and fit being, but at the same time is portrayed in an extremely unrealistic way. The Statue of Asklepios is a classic Greek sculpture that portrays a person of the most perfect and athletic form. The piece is of a man standing beautifully while draped in a toga. The toga is draped over his left shoulder and cuts across to the right side of his body near his lower abdomen and then continues to cover his legs until his ankle. The toga also is draped over the pieces entire back.
The piece is missing his head, his left arm and both his right foot and almost its entire right arm. The piece has a smooth, but not glossy, exterior in all of the areas except for the parts that have been broken off. Asklepios is portrayed as an incredible fit and beautiful being. The abdomen is extremely muscular and shows off the miraculous fitness of the model. The toga has many wrinkles, creating a lot of shadow and darks and lights. It also is wrapped in a way that is both loose and tight in different areas of the sculpture. It is tied right next to the left pectoral and the left armpit.
This piece emphasizes the muscular body of this man while at the same time portraying him standing in such a nonchalant way through the curvature and relaxed look of the figure. And unlike the Torso of a God, this piece clearly shows movement through the shape of the body and the folds of the toga because of the depiction and the combination of the two. The iconographic issues that arise between both pieces are not as similar as the pieces themselves are. The Torso of a God has multiple identifying factors that allow one to see that it is clearly Egyptian.
The accessories, clothing, and the black color of this piece it can be determined that it is Egyptian. And although it is clearly Egyptian, the head is missing from the piece, which makes it impossible to determine who it represents. This piece was made to honor an Egyptian Pharaoh, but because the head is no longer present and there is no inscription, there is no way to identify what pharaoh it represents. The figure’s pose shows that this was not only an important figure at the time, but also a strong man due to the definition of muscles seen in the torso.
The title of this piece is Torso of a God, but because of the headdress, cane, and jewelry it can be assumed that it is instead a Pharaoh and not a god. And although I know a decent amount of information about Egyptian history, there is nothing that can be done to learn more about the piece because of the fact that there are no identifying pieces of information as to who this may be. On the other hand, the Statue of Asklepios is a piece that can actually be identified. This piece is a statue of the Greek God Asklepios who was the god of medicine and healing and any information on him can be found in textbooks as well as the Internet.
There are no symbols used in this piece other than the drapery worn by the figure, which just gives a general sense that this piece was either from Greek or Roman times. The figure’s pose shows that the figure is active and is supposed to show movement. This shows a higher quality of work and makes it much more realistic because of this. I do not know the original context for which this work was made, but it can be assumed that it was to honor the Greek God, Asklepios, himself.
To learn more about this piece, I would consult Gardener’s Art through the Ages chapters that review Greek art and the many sculptures that resemble this one to determine what period it is from as well as the reasons as to why it was made. Although the historical information on the pieces is important and can help the viewer learn more about the reasons as to why the piece was made or other external information about the piece itself, it does not truly describe the piece as it is today. For the Torso of a God, the artist’s original work gave a much more detailed and informational perspective because it still had a head.
Whereas the piece, as it is in its current state, is much less descriptive due to the missing head. The artist used a conceptual way of thinking when creating this work of art because of its not so realistic and personal interpretation of the human body. Even though the piece is a conceptual idea of the human body, it is still naturalistic because of what it is portraying. The Torso of a God can be compared to Greek Archaic art such as Kouros and the Calf-bearer that show a less naturalized body and less descriptive details.
The medium of this piece is Granodiorite, which, in this case, is a black stone that gives a smooth and glossy appearance. The techniques used by the artist gives the piece a much more realistic feel because of the three-dimensional aspect as well as the surface appearance. The scale, shape, texture, and color all show the artists style and help complete the piece. Due to its life size scale it helps the piece seem more realistic as well as the shape that clearly represents a human. Although the color does not accommodate the realism of the piece, it does show a commonality between itself and other pieces alike it from the Egyptian culture.
The Statue of Asklepios is a more optically correct form because the artist created a reproduction of a human body. Similarly to the Torso of a God, this piece is naturalistic because it is derived from real life and is an attempted duplication of the human body. This statue can be compared to Hellenistic pieces discussed in class like Herakles Farnese one as well as the Laocoon due to their similar portrayals of the human form and the incredible details shown in all three pieces. The medium of the Statue of Asklepios is pentelic marble.
Similar to the Torso of a God, this piece is more realistic due to the three-dimensional form as well as the surface appearance, but also the fact that this piece was created in a way that is detailed in all 360-degrees of the piece. In both of the pieces being discussed, the medium shows that the status of the subject being portrayed was that of wealth and also importance in regards to the civilization that they were created in. The artist’s style is focused on realism as well as the importance of details of the human body and this can be seen through the artistic elements used throughout the piece (scale, silhouette, shape, texture, color).
Although the Torso of a God and the Statue of Asklepios come from two completely different time periods, they contain many similarities to each other. Both pieces were made to honor a person of importance and both do so in an extravagant fashion. The perfection that is displayed in both pieces shows how important both beings were due to their immaculately impressive forms. The similarities that occur between these two pieces is not a rare occurrence in art, but instead is an example of how art is constantly recalling previous artwork to help create new art at the same time.
Cite this The Torso of a God at the Legion of Honor Museum
The Torso of a God at the Legion of Honor Museum. (2016, Oct 30). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/legion-of-honor/