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The first portion of this Art Survey I class deals with work ranging from the Paleolithic Age to the works of Ancient Egypt The subject matter that is being depicted is a wide array of major concepts or issues of that particular time As art observers we try to really understand the art we are looking at What does it represent What is the meaning of it Does it serve a purpose To answer these questions we need to look at the iconographic elements as well as the formal conventions of each of the pieces Early on in the history of art it is virtually impossible to know the true meanings of certain pieces because there was no such thing as written records at that time All we can do is gather up enough information of what we do know to be true to make the most valid assumptions as to the meanings of the work as we possibly can However once we are introduced to the Mesopotamian civilization things start to become much clearer The reason behind this is that the Mesopotamians had invented a type of writing called cuneiform which was made by pressing a wedged stick into a soft surface to make symbols that represented different things The Egyptians also had a type of writing called hieroglyphics This is a series of pictures that tell stories Cracking the codes of these ancient writings helped researchers today get a better understanding of what the artists truly meant to depict in their work Each of the pieces we have studied is done in mediums such as stone clay paint etc Using these popular items of the time the artists made such things as free -standing sculpture relief-sculpture and wall paintings Some examples that will be discussed later on in this essay are the wall painting of Queen Nefertari Making an Offering to Isis the freestanding Votive Statue of Gudea and the relief-sculpture
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