Paper , Order, or Assignment Requirements
This is your chance to be as narcissistic as you want to be. You are taking on the role of an artist, architect, or patron who lived sometime during the time period covered by our class (Prehistory to the Gothic Era). You are designing a monument for yourself. It can be any type of monument that we have studied: a funerary monument, a house, a temple, a painting, a reliquary, a mosaic, etc.–ANYTHING! You must design your monument to be seen by art historians (like yourself) hundreds or even thousands of years from now. They will look at this monument and try to understand it, you, your time period, your motivations, your social standing, etc.
Your design must refer to at least three works of art that we have seen in this class (you may also use works discussed in online readings that are not covered in lessons, so long as you get permission first). These works or monuments are your inspirations. You may freely mix-and-match time periods, styles, etc, SO LONG AS YOU JUSTIFY YOUR DECISION.
EXAMPLE: One student designed a nude statue of himself in the pose of the Doryphoros and placed it in a round temple that emulated the Pantheon. He was using the premise of the Aphrodite of Knidos in allowing women from all over to look at his nude body from all angles. Like Hadrian, he had a commemorative inscription over the porch of the temple, but this one was a bit like one of Augustus’ inscriptions (it sounded humble but was really meant to glorify him). And by using the Doryphoros, he was participating in the tradition of the Greek ideal male nude.
In your paper, you will not only give us a full walk-through or part-by-part description, but you will also include a full account of the iconography of your work. So if you have designed a funerary temple like Hatshepsut’s, you should describe the decorative program and even the landscaping. If you designed reliquary or altarpiece with multiple scenes, you should describe all the scenes and what they mean. Remember that materials, techniques, figure poses, scale, and other elements can be bearers of meaning. You must give your monument meaning! It might also be helpful to include a little bit of biographical detail about the persona that you have chosen for yourself–this is your monument, after all, and it will reflect who you are. The point of this assignment is to test your understanding of the interpretive tools of art history and your understanding of the time periods you choose to imitate in your own design.
Some questions to ask yourself when you work on your design
Who am I? (Including your gender, your social, political and/or religious status, your age–if appropriate, your level of wealth, your profession)
What do I want to communicate about myself with this monument?
What is my intended audience?
How will my audience interact with my monument? (This can lead to other questions like: Is it portable? Is it an architectural complex?)
Where is it located?
How is location significant?
What works of art and/or architecture inform my design?
How is my design inspired by each of these works?