Comparing Toreador Fresco and Fowling Scene – Art History Essay
The Egyptians and the Minoans used different forms of composition and form in their depiction of the human figure. Much of the differences came from social or cultural aspects of the daily lives. The main
difference in the painting techniques in representing the human figure is the use of lines, proportion, depiction of motion, and social use.
The Egyptians used mostly angular lines in their representations of the human figure. An example in the Toreador Fresco painting would be the limbs of the Egyptian man. All of these lines follow a straight 180 degree line. They also express an implied line down the center of the figure separating the humans on the right from the animals on the left. The Egyptians also show an unrealistic proportion of all the humans. This could be for the use of a social hierarchy of scale or an attempt to try to depict depth. Whatever the reason, the man is the largest followed by the wife. The daughter is the smallest human figure, secured under her father. The Egyptians never got that far in their strives (based on the assumption that they had one) for obtaining an accurate depiction of motion. The angular, or straight lines, make the human figure look stiff while the perspective only adds to the two-dimensional look of this painting. Socially, the Egyptians used the painting to create a connection between the lives they were living and their afterlives.
The Minoans, which gained power after the Egyptians, used organic or curvilinear lines in their paintings such as the Fowling Scene seen below. The example shown below of two women, one on the left holding the bull, and one of the right observing the man ride the bull upside down. These curved lines on both the bull and the man riding the bull emphasize the paintings effect to show motion and a great amount of energy. This painting was based on a social and cultural event: bull fighting. The proportion is close to reality except for bull being larger than the humans. This could have been used to show the bravery of the bull rider. The motion in the Fowling Scene is all based mainly upon the use of curves. The only line missing from this painting is a ground line. Without this feature, the bull riding event looks like a futuristic Greek god fighting a bull among the heavens. Socially, the Minoans used this as a means to honor a bull rider or simply show the bull fighting sport as it really was. If this was the case, their accuracy in proportion added to the effect.
The Egyptians and Minoans kept to their social and cultural standings which included their preferences on the lines, the proportions, and depiction of motion they chose to paint in the artist’s representations of the human figure.