I continue to read my newest art history book, "30,000 years of art", aquired at the Morse Museum while I was in Florida. It weighs 15 pounds/6.8 kg, and is three inches/7.5 cm thick. I'm up to about 1,000 BCE. It's slow going, and pretty dense. (Ha.)
There is one work of art, with commentary, per page, which makes it ideal for reading while caring for the Goob. I can manage an article or two before she turns up, demanding crackers or something. Plus she likes to look at the pictures with me and talk about them, so I'm squeezing in a few history lessons as we go. Never know if it'll stick, but we both enjoy it.
So, yesterday, I'd gotten to 1200 BCE and the "Acrobatic Dancer". She's pretty famous in both art history and Egyptology, and I'd seen her before.
The book is so huge that I read it at the dining room table (where it has taken up semi-permanent residence). I sat there, reading about how her origin is unknown (she showed up on the antiquities market decades ago, possibly as long as a century, back when things were regularly looted and sold and the authorities didn't do much). She's thought to have come from the workers' village near the Valley of the Kings, where the painters, sculptors, and other artists and craftsmen who built the royal tombs lived.
The husbeast, not being big on art history and having gleaned most of his Egyptology from a couple quick visits with the Navy, and living with me, had never seen her before. He wandered by the table where I was reading, stopped, and said, "Oh, nice."
I assume it was appreciation for both the artistic skill - which is impressive - and the subject matter.
So I read to him from the book, on the theories as to how and why the lady got painted. Theories are: it was drawn by a master to explain a theory to an apprentice, a working sketch in preparation of tomb decoration, a copy of work from a tomb for later refrence. "Sheer pleasure of creation" is added, at the end, almost as an afterthought.
The husbeast summed it up best with a snort. "Maybe he just liked painting naked chicks. Looks like he was good at it."
I added that considering the unholy amount of formal rules governing 'real' Egyptian painting at the time, perhaps an artist wanted to make something however he liked. And he liked naked chicks.
The husbeast and I agreed, and he went off to the garage to work on the engine he's rebuilding, and I went on to read about a Syrian box lid of carved ivory.
I'm telling you, the museums NEED US.