AP Art History : Identifying artists, works, or schools of architecture of the Americas

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Art History

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Example Questions

Example Question #3 : Architecture Beyond European Artistic Traditions

The Anasazi were notable for constructing buildings in __________.

Possible Answers:

stone cliffs

swamplands

desert plains

lake islands

Correct answer:

stone cliffs

Explanation:

The Anasazi are believed to have developed a unique culture in the American southwest around roughly the twelfth century B.C.E. The most notable aspect of Anasazi ruins and buildings is their location. In multiple sites in the Four Corners region, large stone palaces and other buildings are built into caves along stone cliffs, creating the look of a building that comes directly out of the stone walls.

Example Question #1 : Identifying Artists, Works, Or Schools Of Architecture Of The Americas

The Mayan civilization of Mesoamerica is perhaps best known for building which Pre-Columbian city, which in this day and age has become a popular tourist attraction?

Possible Answers:

Chichen Itza

Zocalo

Queztalcoatl

Tenochtitlan

Tlaloc

Correct answer:

Chichen Itza

Explanation:

Chichen Itza, built and occupied between 600 and 1200 BCE, is a famous city built by the Mayans in what is today known as Yucatán, Southern Mexico. It is not completely known why Chichen Itza was abandoned, only that it remains in good condition to this day, and is a stunning example of Mayan architecture.

Example Question #2 : Identifying Artists, Works, Or Schools Of Architecture Of The Americas

Panorama of monte alban from the south platform

Monte Albán, estimated to have been built in 500BC, and located in what is now known as the state of Oaxaca in Mexico, was primarily occupied by which pre-Columbian civilization?

Possible Answers:

The Aztec civilization

The Inca civilization

The Mayan civilization

The Olmec civilization

The Zapotec civilization

Correct answer:

The Zapotec civilization

Explanation:

Monte Albán was the cultural and political center of the Zapotec civilization for over one thousand years. The Zapotec civilization occupied the area now known as Oaxaca in Mexico. It was founded between 500 and 700BC, and later abandoned, over 1,000 years later. Although other Pre-Columbian civilizations discovered and potentially occupied the remains of Monte Albán after its abandonment, no civilization occupied it as their cultural and political center like the Zapotec civilization did.

Image accessed at: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Panorama_of_Monte_Alban_from_the_South_Platform.jpg

Photograph by Matt Saunder

Example Question #1 : Identifying Artists, Works, Or Schools Of Architecture Of The Americas

Telamones tula

The pyramids found alongside these stone monuments in what is now Hidalgo, Mexico, are examples of the architectural style of which pre-Columbian civilization of Mesoamerica?

Possible Answers:

The Toltec civilization

The Inca civilization

None of these

The Olmec civilization

The Aztec civilization

Correct answer:

The Toltec civilization

Explanation:

The Toltec civilization dominated the area of Mexico that is now known as the state of Hidalgo in the early post-classic period of Mesoamerican chronology. The pyramids constructed in Tula, Hidalgo, Mexico, show an interesting similarity to Mayan architecture, though they are different enough as to be able to determine Toltec from Mayan architecture. What the similarities seem to hint at is that there was some kind of interaction between the Mayan and Toltec civilizations.

In addition, the Aztec peoples considered the Toltec civilization as their ancestors. Although little is known about the history of the Toltec civilization, the Aztecs wrote about them extensively. Unfortunately, it is not known if the accounts of the Aztecs are indeed historical, or simply fictional accounts of those whom they consider to be their ancestors.

Image accessed at: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Telamones_Tula.jpg

Photograph by Luidger

Example Question #2 : Identifying Artists, Works, Or Schools Of Architecture Of The Americas

Telamones tula

The free-standing columns found in Hidalgo, Mexico, are a remnant of the architecture of which pre-Columbian civilization?

Possible Answers:

None of these

The Aztec civilization

The Olmec civilization

The Toltec civilization

The Mayan civilization

Correct answer:

The Toltec civilization

Explanation:

The Toltec civilization dominated the area of Mexico that is now known as the state of Hidalgo in the early post-classic period of Mesoamerican chronology. The free-standing columns depicting Toltec warriors, also called Atlantean figures, are an example of the art and architecture of the Toltec civilization.

The Aztec people considered the Toltec civilization to be their ancestors. They saw these statues as representations of their Gods, such as Quetzalcoatl, and saw the Toltec architecture of Tula, Hidalgo as a divine space, like a city of Gods.
 
Image accessed at: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Telamones_Tula.jpg

Photograph by Luidger

 
 

Example Question #5 : Identifying Artists, Works, Or Schools Of Architecture Of The Americas

Panorama of monte alban from the south platform

Monte Albán, pictured above, occupied from the year 500 BC to the year 850 AD, is a classic example of which style of architecture?

Possible Answers:

Ancient Egyptian

Mexican Baroque

Ancient Greek

Pre-Columbian

Mesopotamian

Correct answer:

Pre-Columbian

Explanation:

Monte Albán, founded in large part by the Zapotec civilization, is a classic example of Pre-Columbian architecture. This means that it is was constructed in the Americas prior to European discovery and settlement. The city's stacked-pyramid appearance is a classic example of the most well-known style of Pre-Columbian, Mesoamerican architecture. In addition, the dates of its occupancy match up to those of Pre-Columbian civilizations.

Image accessed at: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Panorama_of_Monte_Alban_from_the_South_Platform.jpg

Photograph by Matt Saunder

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