A Comparison of the Physical Presentation of Dogon Standing Man and Isis-Aphrodite

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Formal Analysis of Two Sculptures In the MET

This paper will discuss the formal aspects and the museum presentation of the following two pieces: the first is the Dogon Standing Man carved from wood in Mali 16th-20th AD century and the second is Isis-Aphrodite modeled painted terracotta from Egypt 2nd century AD

The Dogon is a freestanding sculpture carved from wood and assembled, it is life size at approximately 6 feet and 10 inches. The Dogon also seems to have a rough texture because of designs and markings etched across of it. The sculpture is composed many shapes that are rounded except for the stomach which retains an angular shape. In addition, with compared to a three-dimensional plane, the sculpture predominately contains curvaceous lines composed vertically; the abdomen and arms are the only features that contain rigid, straight lines. The sculpture represents a man in a rigged pose, looking straight ahead with his arms up. He is also depicted in the nude except for accessories on his neck, hands, and waist. The Isis sculpture is a freestanding sculpture modeled from terracotta and painted, it is approximately 1 ½ feet tall. The sculpture seems to have a rough texture due to paint that has chipped. It is composed of shapes that are rounded instead of angular. Furthermore, compared to a three-dimensional plane the sculpture contains many curvaceous lines composed vertically. The sculpture represents a goddess combining attributes of the Egyptian goddesses Isis and Hathor and the Greek goddess Aphrodite. Aside from being nude and shoeless, she wears extravagant accessories, one of which is an elaborate calathos that contains the sun disk in addition to the horns of Isis. Lastly, her long hair curls are arranged in a similar fashion to the traditional Egyptian hairstyle women wore.

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The Dogon is located in gallery 350. The gallery is approximately 22ft x 35ft. While there isn’t any natural light, the artworks are illuminated by electrical ceiling lights. The Dogon is located in the center of gallery 350—near the entrance of gallery 352, it is not placed within a case but rather placed on a platform to help it stand up because the feet of the statue are damaged. Since the Dogon is the tallest sculpture in the gallery and is not placed in a case, it automatically grabs the attention of the viewer—it can be said that the statue is literally the center of the gallery. Additionally, since the sculpture is located near the picture of Mr. Rockefeller who donated many works of art from his collection to this gallery, it could depict the importance of the sculpture to the gallery. The other pieces of art are either below the Dogon or are enclosed in a case; someone can interpret this as not being as important as the Dogon. For example, the Bamana Figures are congregated together in a corner; someone can perceive the Bamana Figures not as important as the Dogon. It would be logical to change the orientation of the gallery and have more space between each figure and place them on similar platforms as well as similar eye-levels so one work of art isn’t viewed more important than another. The Isis is located in gallery 138. The rectangular shaped gallery is openly connected to gallery 100, which is adjacent to gallery 138. Gallery 138 is approximately 20ft x 15ft, and the artworks within the gallery are illuminated by bright white ceiling lights causing the gallery to be much brighter than gallery 350. The Isis sculpture is placed on a high platform approximately 4 feet off the ground, and also is enclosed in a case. The sculpture is also placed in the middle of the gallery; this evokes the idea that the Isis is significant compared to the rest. In addition, many of the other artworks on display in the gallery are also placed in cases such as Egyptian jewelry, the Sarcophaguses, and ritual masks. Alternatively, all of the other art pieces are either on the wall or stacked up against it, this leaves a lot of room in the gallery. The orientation of gallery 138 should be kept the same because the Egyptians have a worldview that puts their gods as the center of all things hence this gallery has Isis as the center. Furthermore, the gallery also contains a bright white light that serves as a “spot-light” for the sculpture.

If a paper is to be written about the Dogon and Isis, the first important question that should be posed is where has the sculpture traveled from in order to be on display at the MET. This question would provide a time-line of where the sculptures have traveled. Another pivotal question to ask is whether the work of art was first graciously welcomed by their respect regions or were the sculptures not received warmly. This would be important to understand the circumstances behind the origin of the work of art. Another question that would help write a research paper for the sculptures would be to find out whether a church, or government commissioned the conception of the work of art, this would explain the purpose of the works of art, whether it is commemorative or propagandistic. Lastly, it would be important to find out the time it took to finish each sculpture, this would allow a researcher to understand the process of carving the Dogon and modeling the Isis and the work that went into the process. The answers to these questions would provide the insight needed to format a research paper about the works of art.

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A Comparison of the Physical Presentation of Dogon Standing Man and Isis-Aphrodite. (2020, July 22). WritingBros. Retrieved January 24, 2022, from https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/a-comparison-of-the-physical-presentation-of-dogon-standing-man-and-isis-aphrodite/
“A Comparison of the Physical Presentation of Dogon Standing Man and Isis-Aphrodite.” WritingBros, 22 Jul. 2020, writingbros.com/essay-examples/a-comparison-of-the-physical-presentation-of-dogon-standing-man-and-isis-aphrodite/
A Comparison of the Physical Presentation of Dogon Standing Man and Isis-Aphrodite. [online]. Available at: <https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/a-comparison-of-the-physical-presentation-of-dogon-standing-man-and-isis-aphrodite/> [Accessed 24 Jan. 2022].
A Comparison of the Physical Presentation of Dogon Standing Man and Isis-Aphrodite [Internet]. WritingBros. 2020 Jul 22 [cited 2022 Jan 24]. Available from: https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/a-comparison-of-the-physical-presentation-of-dogon-standing-man-and-isis-aphrodite/
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