Fundação Getulio Vargas Art and Power Essay This assignment covers chapters 9 & 10.For this assignment, read the following questions first and then choose

Fundação Getulio Vargas Art and Power Essay This assignment covers chapters 9 & 10.For this assignment, read the following questions first and then choose only one of the questions and write a short paper of 300-500 words in MS Word .docx format, save and upload it to the submission folder. Remember, respond only to one question. You will not get credit if you answer all of the questions.Name two rulers and discuss how they use the power of art to persuade and to validate their authority.Select two sculptures or paintings, each from a different period and culture. Examine the possible ritualistic functions that each piece fulfills.Any use of sources must be documented in MLA style. You should only use signed sources (that is, sources that have a named author). Wikipedia should not be used as a source itself. Read through your paper several times before you submit, revising where your prose is unclear or needs further explanation and correcting any errors in spelling, grammar or syntax. 9
Art and Power
Pamela J. Sachant and Rita Tekippe
After completing this chapter, you should be able to:
• Describe why and how art and artists have in some cultures been considered to have
exceptional power.
• Distinguish between images of persuasion and propaganda, and specify characteristics
of each.
• Recognize how and why images are used for such purposes as to display power,
influence society, and effect change.
• Indicate ways that images establish and enhance a ruler’s position and authority.
• Identify changes in images of conflict, heroic action, and victims of violent
confrontation in various cultures and time periods, including the artist’s intentions as
well as the public response.
• Distinguish between and describe the prohibition of images enforced within some
• Describe why protestors or conquerors might destroy images and monuments of a
past or defeated culture.
Art has always been associated with power. At times in history, the individuals who made art
were seen as having special powers. They could conceptualize shapes and forms and then bring
them into being. They could create images and objects from dirt, ashes, and stone that looked like
living creatures. These individuals were set apart—they could transform, they could give life. And
the images and objects they created held powers, as well. They were a means of communication
with an unseen world, of exerting influence over the well-being and actions of humans. So both the
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artists and their art were considered
to be magical in that they were outof-the-realm of everyday, common,
and shared existence: they were super-natural and extra-ordinary.
The ancient Greeks believed the
creativity artists possessed came
to them from a muse, a personification of knowledge and the arts
that inspired them to write, sculpt,
and compose. The ancient Romans,
who strongly believed in the family as the most basic and essential
Figure 9.1 | Apadana staircase, Persepholis, Iran
hub of societal organization, called
Author: User “Fabienkhan”
its guiding spirit the genius, from
Source: Wikimedia Commons
License: Copyright, Special Permissions Granted
the Latin verb meaning genui or
“to bring into being or create.” The
word genius came to be associated with the arts during the Renaissance, when it took on the
meaning of inspiration and ingenuity visited upon the artist, often as a form of possession, setting
the artist apart from, and at odds with, non-geniuses.
In addition to the power of the artist, there is the power of the art itself to imitate or mimic life.
Again, according to the ancient Greeks, art’s power resides in its ability to represent nature; the
closer, more real, and more natural the representation, the closer the art work is to truth, beauty—
and power. Among other cultures, especially those that avoid representation, art is still a means of
aesthetic expression with considerable power, but with abstracted forms. For example, in Islamic
cultures the human figure and forms based on direct observation are not used in religious art and
architecture as only God has the ability to create living things. Instead, elaborate ornamentation
based on the written word and human, animal, and plant forms is used to decorate surfaces with
intricate motifs, or patterns.
The visual force of the image or object, whether representational or non-representational,
has been used throughout the ages by those in power to give form to and communicate messages
about themselves, their wishes or dictates, their accomplishments, and their very right to rule.
Literacy has, until the recent past, in human history been a skill few had the means to develop,
but leaders in secular and religious roles have fostered among their subjects and followers a visual
literacy, the ability to “read” and understand images through a common “language” of subjects,
symbols, and styles. Those who wish to use their art as a means of protest against an established
power have traditionally used the same “vocabulary” to visually communicate their messages, as
well. Especially in times of war and during periods of oppression, art has been used as a tool to
protest, document, provide an alternative version, and communicate to others about people and
events that become our historical record.
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The word propaganda has gotten a bad reputation. The Latin origin of the word propaganda is propagare, meaning “to spread or disseminate.” As it is used today, the word mainly refers
to promoting information—often biased or misleading, sometimes hidden—in order to influence
views, beliefs, or behavior. Originally, the word was not associated with politics, as it is generally
today, nor did it imply lies or bad faith; propaganda was simply a means of publicly communicating ideas, instruction, and the like. In such a case, we now are more likely to use the word persuasion, which has a more neutral connotation and suggests convincing rather than coercing. For
example, advertising tries to persuade—or entice—the consumer to make a choice or purchase. To
many, however, there is a fine line between propaganda and persuasion. They are separated more
by purpose and intention—good, bad, or neutral—than how they are carried out. Garth Jowett and
Victoria O’Donnell describe the fine but crucial differences between the two words:
Propaganda is the deliberate, systematic attempt to shape perceptions, manipulate cognitions, and direct behavior to achieve a response that furthers the desired intent of the
propagandist. Persuasion is interactive and attempts to satisfy the needs of both persuader and persuadee.1
King Darius I (r. 522-486 BCE) had both persuasion and propaganda in mind when he built
the Apadana at Persepolis, today Iran. (Figure 9.1) Darius I was the first king of the Achaemenid
Empire (c. 550-330 BCE) to have royal structures erected on the site, but construction would
continue under succeeding Persian kings for approximately one hundred years. The Apadana was
begun in 515 BCE and completed thirty years later by Darius I’s son, Xerxes I. Apadana means
hypostyle hall, a stone building with a roof supported by columns. It originally had seventy-two
columns—thirteen still stand—each sixty-two feet tall in a grand hall that was 200 x 200 feet,
or 4,000 square feet. Needless to say, a building of such monumental proportions was an overwhelming sight for those who approached it. Brightly painted in many colors and raised on a platform with the Kuh-e Rahmat or Mountain of Mercy rising behind it, the towering structure could
be seen for miles from the sparsely vegetated plain to the east.
For King Darius I, the Apadana and Persepolis—the city of Persians—as a whole was a statement of propaganda. The hypostyle hall and the city were awe-inspiring and intimidating; they in
no uncertain terms let the viewer know the King had formidable power and tremendous resources.
Upon entering the King’s hall, the viewer was surrounded by his strength in the form of columns
the height of a modern six-story building, holding up a ceiling of incalculable weight. How small
and powerless the visitor was in the midst of such force. But Darius I, whose empire stretched from
Egypt in the west to the Indus Valley, today Pakistan, to the east, knew that he could not effectively
rule through domination and fear. So, he had elements of persuasion included at Persepolis, as well.
In addition to the building’s resplendent majesty, it was adorned with sumptuous and masterful frescoes, glazed brickwork, and relief sculpture. Two staircases led up to the platform on
Garth Jowett and Victoria O’Donnell, Propaganda and Persuasion, 6th ed. (California: Sage Publications, 2014), 7
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which the Apadana was built, on
the north and east sides, but only
the north staircase was completed
during Darius’s lifetime. That staircase and the platform walls to either
side are covered with reliefs: figures
in even, orderly rows as they approach the Persian King’s hall. (Figure 9.2) They are representatives of
the twenty-three countries within
the Achaemenid Empire, coming to
pay homage to the King during festivals for the New Year, carrying gifts.
Figure 9.2 | Reliefs at Persepholis
Author: User “Ziegler175”
Accompanying them are Persian digSource: Wikimedia Commons
nitaries, followed by soldiers with
License: CC BY-SA 3.0
their weaponry, horses, and chariots.
The native Persian and foreign-born
delegates are shown together in these friezes, or rows, of relief sculpture. (Figure 9.3) They have
facial features that correspond with their ethnicity, and hair, clothing, and accessories that indicate what region they are from. Even the gifts are objects and animals from their own countries.
Rather than showing the foreigners as subservient to the Persians, they mingle with one another and at times appear to be
in conversation.
The staircase reliefs, as opposed to the magnificent building as a whole, can be seen as a form of persuasion. It was
in the king’s better interests to win over his subjects, to gain
their trust, allegiance, and cooperation, than to bend them
to his will through force and subjugation. Having already
demonstrated from a distance that he had the power to defeat his enemies, Darius I could, as the delegates ascended
the stairs to his great hall, literally show them the respect with
which he treated his loyal subjects.
In more recent history, Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825,
France) painted five versions of Napoleon Crossing the Alps
between 1801 and 1805. (Figure 9.4) David was born and
raised in Paris and entered the École des Beaux-Arts in 1866
at the age of eighteen. After eight years of mixed success in his
studies there, David won the Prix de Rome in 1774, a prestiFigure 9.3 | The Apadana Palace,
Persepolis, Iran
gious government scholarship that also included travel to Italy.
Author: User “Happolati”
He lived in Rome from 1775 to 1780, studying the art of great
Source: Wikimedia Commons
masters from the classical past, through the Renaissance, and
License: Public Domain
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to the present. But, he was most impressed
with the philosophical and artistic ideals of
some of his contemporaries, the Neoclassical
thinkers and painters he met in Italy.
When he returned to France, he soon began exhibiting work in this new style; with
their somber, moral tones, stories of family loyalty and patriotic duty, fine detail, and
sharp focus, works in the Neoclassical style
(c. 1765-1830) were in stark contrast to the
frivolous, sentimental subjects and delicate,
pastel hues of the prevailing Rococo style (c.
1700-1770s). Over the course of the 1780s,
as social disconnect and political upheaval
were building toward the French Revolution
of 1789, the self-sacrificing, stoic heroes from
classical and contemporary history David
painted increasingly reflected the public desire for liberté, egalité, fraternité, or liberty,
Figure 9.4 | Napoleon Crossing the Alps
equality, and fraternity (universal brotherArtist: Jacques-Louis David
Author: User “Garoutcha”
Source: Wikimedia Commons
In the aftermath of the revolution, during
License: Public Domain
the mercurial times of the 1790s, David was
first a powerful figure in the short-lived Republic and then a jailed outcast. When Napoleon Bonaparte, named First Consul in 1799, commissioned David to paint his portrait in 1800, however, David’s return to official favor was complete.
The commission came about this way: in the spring of 1800, Napoleon led troops south to
support French troops already in Genoa, Italy, in an effort to take back land captured by the Austrians. He did so on June 9th at the Battle of Marengo. The victory led to France and Spain re-establishing diplomatic relations eleven years after the French Revolution and, as part of the formal
exchange of gifts to mark the occasion, King Charles IV of Spain requested a portrait of Napoleon
to hang in the Royal Palace of Madrid. Learning of this, Napoleon requested three more versions
from David (and the painter independently created a fifth, which remained in his possession until
his death.)
It was to be an equestrian portrait, Napoleon specified, that is, depicting him on horseback,
crossing the Great St. Bernard Pass in the Alps, leading the Reserve Army south to Italy. David
was to show Napoleon on a spirited, rearing horse as a calm and decisive leader, much like his
heroes Hannibal and Charlemagne, who crossed the Alps before Napoleon and whose names are
inscribed with his on rocks in the left foreground of the painting. In actuality, however, it did not
happen that way at all: Napoleon crossed on the Alps on the back of a mule, in good weather, a few
days after the soldiers went through the pass.
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What Napoleon was asking David to paint was a piece of propaganda. And, the artist succeeded admirably. With the wind whipping his cloak around him, assuredly holding the reins of his
wild-eyed horse in one hand while gesturing the way up and over the peaks with the other, and
holding the viewer’s gaze with his look of complete composure, David has shown Napoleon as a
leader who guides his people to victory and who will be remembered as a hero throughout the
ages. That was the story Napoleon wanted told: the timeless ideal of the great man, not the transitory pettiness of his physical likeness. For, as Napoleon is attributed with claiming, “History is
the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon.”
Considering the potential for art to give expressive form to ideas and emotions, it is not surprising that art has often been used to present a wide range of messages about war, one of the
most dramatic of human events. All forms of art have been used for documenting war, stating reasons for supporting or opposing it, and showing reflections about its meanings, implications, and
effects. On a broader scale, all human activities, of course, may be occasions for people to criticize
one another, to condemn ideas, ideals, and actions, to promote or oppose causes that express cultural, societal, or individual values. We will examine a number of works that are concerned with
these issues in various ways.
9.4.1 Historical/Documentary
From the earliest
times, artists have responded to issues of war
and conquest and their
implications for the cultures in which they took
place. Often, the art appears to have been created to mark a moment of
triumph and to interpret
the conquest as a validation of a leader’s right to
rule, established through
the victory. Such was the
case with the Palette of
Narmer. (Figure 9.5) On
the two-sided palette are
relief-carved depictions
of the subjugation of the
Figure 9.5 | Narmer Palette
Author: User “Nicolas Perrault III”
Source: Wikimedia Commons
License: Public Domain
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enemy by Egyptian King Narmer (also referred to as Menes)—under the watchful protection of
the deities—and a procession of the King and his attendants toward the decapitated bodies of ten
of the defeated. On the first side, Narmer wears the crown of Upper Egypt and on the reverse he
wears the crown of Lower Egypt, symbolizing the union of the two regions under one ruler (c.
3,100-3,050 BCE). He is depicted far larger than both his enemies and his own men, showing the
figures’ relative importance. Narmer is literally depicted as a powerful, firm, and resolute warrior
who will be a strong and worthy leader.
Grand artistic depictions of rulers in battle have always been used to help form their reputations and to bolster the images of their good and wise rulership. Military success has long been
equated, correctly or not, with political prowess. The heroic feats of Alexander the Great (r. 336323 BCE) at the Battle of Issus (333 BCE) with the powerful Persian King Darius III (r. 336-330
BCE) were portrayed in a Greek painting that no longer exists. Like much of Greek art, though, it
was copied by the Romans, so we do have a mosaic version of the tumultuous battle that was created for the House of the Faun in Pompeii, Italy. (Figure 9.6) This enormous depiction, although
damaged and now incomplete, gives a lively, somewhat riotous account of the dramatic encounter
of these two renowned warriors. Alexander can be seen to the left on his chestnut horse, staring
with wide-eyed intensity at the fleeing Darius, who turns to look at his opponent with one arm
extended as if pleading for mercy while the driver of his chariot whips the King’s horses into a
frenzy of motion.
Figure 9.6 | Alexander Mosaic
Author: User “Berthold Werner”
Source: Wikimedia Commons
License: CC BY-SA 3.0
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We should consider to
what extent these accounts are
documentary, based on factual records, and what we can
discern that is propagandistic
in purpose. In many eras, the
glorification of heroes and heroic deeds in war was perhaps
paramount, not only from a
political and patriotic standpoint, but also because these
were the values promoted as
part of artistic training in academic settings (values that
prevailed for most successful
Figure 9.7 | The Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker’s
Hill, June 17, 1775
artists at least through the
Artist: John Trumbull
middle of the nineteenth cenAuthor: Boston Museum of Fine Arts
tury, when anti-academic reSource: Wikimedia Commons
License: Public Domain
bellions began in art circles).
American heroism in war
was certainly envisioned in these terms, as evidenced in Death of General Warren at the Battle
of Bunker Hill by John Trumbull. (Figure 9.7) As discussed in Chapter 8 Art and Identity, Trumbull was an aide-de-camp to General George Washington. After witnessing Warren’s death in
Boston, Trumbull was commissioned by Warren’s family to immortalize the event. The Battle of
Bunker Hill took place in 1775, the
first year of the American Revolutionary War. Although the colonialists were defeated, the British
were stunned by their far greater
number of casualties, boosting
the morale of the young army. In
his painting, Trumbull focused
on the General’s tragic death as
the colonial forces retreated, as
well as the compassion of British
major John Small, who held back
one of his men as the soldier was
Figure 9.8 | Washington Crossing the Delaware
about to bayonet Warren. Doing
Artist: Emanuel Leutze
so, Trumbull could celebrate the
Author: Google Cultural Institute
heroism of the Americans while
Source: Wikimedia Commons
License: Public Domain
also acknowledging the honor-
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able behavior of the enemy, an
expectation in eighteenth-century codes of conduct during
pitched battles.
Trumbull’s depiction of the
battle scene is greatly romanticized: an historically accurate
rendering of General Warren’s
death was neither expected nor
desired by viewers of the day.
Many questions have been asked,
Figure 9.9 | Charge of the Rough Riders at San Juan Hill
as well, about the accuracy of the
Artist: Frederic Remington
grand tableau by Emanuel Leutze
Author: User “Julius Morton”
(1816-1868, Germany, lived USA)
Source: Wikimedia Commons
License: Public Domain
of Washington Crossing the Delaware, a painting that is an iconic
symbol of the American Revolutionary War and the first president of the United States. (Figure 9.8)
Leutze created the work in 1851, seventy-five years after the Battle of Trenton occurred in 1776. Far

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