AP Art History : Understanding terminology that describes Ancient Grecian and Roman sculpture

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Art History

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Example Questions

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Example Question #22 : Sculpture

The difference between a bas-relief and a high relief in a carved sculpture is that __________.

Possible Answers:

a bas-relief is set lower against its background

a bas-relief is carved much more ornately

a bas-relief is much simpler

a bas-relief is set higher against its background

Correct answer:

a bas-relief is set lower against its background

Explanation:

A relief is a sculpture that is carved into a large slate of stone or metal, with its figures raised above a flat background. A bas-relief is a form of relief with very little depth between the carving and the background, while a high relief has much more depth. Neither term indicates any level of how ornate the carving actually is.

Example Question #23 : Sculpture

Roman sculpture distinguished itself from Greek sculpture by

Possible Answers:

creation of elaborate funerary memorials.

sharp realism in portraiture.

creating sculptures of pagan gods for use in temples.

widespread use of marble as a medium.

Correct answer:

sharp realism in portraiture.

Explanation:

Most Roman sculpture, and art of all kinds, was heavily based on Greek examples, and oftentimes it can be hard to distinguish between a Roman original and a Roman copy of a Greek sculpture. However, one major distinguishing feature of Roman sculpture is in its portraiture. Roman portraits depicted their subjects in a "warts and all" manner that showed every imperfection, as it was seen to exhibit worldliness and wisdom.

Example Question #24 : Sculpture

Pictured above is the Boxer at Rest. It is a public domain image and can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boxer_at_Rest

The sculpture was created by a process that involves molds of the body made of wax and molten bronze casting, which is known as the _____________.

Possible Answers:

wax-cast type

encaustic process

lost-wax process

negative space type

Correct answer:

lost-wax process

Explanation:

The lost wax process involves carving first the wax in the shape of a limb or head, and then using that as a moulding for the hot bronze so it is both lighter as well as more realistic. Encaustic is also a process that involves wax, but it is wax paint and not wax sculpture. This process is now considered lost because after the Greeks stopped using it it fell out of fashion and was never properly replicated. 

Example Question #1 : Understanding Terminology That Describes Ancient Grecian And Roman Sculpture

The "Archaic smile" found on many human images originating in Greece's Archaic Period was meant to be a sign of what?

Possible Answers:

Being alive

Having died with a good reputation

Having been blessed by the gods

It was only included if the model was happy at the time of the sculpting.

Correct answer:

Being alive

Explanation:

The "Archaic smile" characteristic of faces from sixth century BCE art was probably mean to imbue unmoving stone faces with life and distinguish them from the unmoving faces of the dead.

Example Question #26 : Sculpture

Which of the following characteristics best describe the Hellenistic period of Ancient Greek sculpture?

Possible Answers:

Symmetrical, and representative of ideal beauty and perfection

Expressionless and stiff

Small, realistic, and emotional

Naturalistic, emotional, and dynamic

None of the other answers is correct.

Correct answer:

Naturalistic, emotional, and dynamic

Explanation:

Hellenistic Greek sculptures are often describes as naturalistic, emotional and dynamic. These pieces were a reflection of the diversity of cultures the Ancient Greeks and their culture interacted with after following the conquests of Alexander the Great. No longer did Ancient Greek sculpture represent ideal beauty and perfection the way it had during the Classical period. The Archaic period of Greek Sculpture was known for its stiff, expressionless subjects. Lastly, Hellenistic sculptures were also known for their increasingly large size.

Example Question #2 : Understanding Terminology That Describes Ancient Grecian And Roman Sculpture

Archaic Greek sculpture is known to have predominately consisted of three types of figures. These types of figures are known as the seated woman, the standing draped girl, and __________.

Possible Answers:

the mother and child

the praying youth

the kneeling draped youth

the running naked youth

the standing naked youth

Correct answer:

the standing naked youth

Explanation:

The three types of figures are known as the seated woman, the standing draped girl, and the standing naked youth. The standing naked youth is often portrayed standing with one foot forward with a frontal stance.

Example Question #3 : Understanding Terminology That Describes Ancient Grecian And Roman Sculpture

This dominant style of ancient Roman sculpture developed from the ancient Roman concept of the importance of family and ancestors. Busts created in this style were often displayed in the atria of the houses of powerful Roman families. These busts often captured the physical flaws of their subjects, as it was considered a sign of good character to recognize and display them with pride.

To which style of ancient Roman sculpture is the above excerpt referring?

Possible Answers:

Reliefs

Funerary art

None of the other answers

Portraiture

Religious art

Correct answer:

Portraiture

Explanation:

Portraiture was a dominant, important part of Ancient Roman culture. It involved creating a bust (shoulders-up, or simply the head and neck) of the subject, who was more often than not the patriarch of the family.

Example Question #29 : Sculpture

Ancient Roman sarcophagi were often decorated with what type of ancient Roman funerary art?

Possible Answers:

Elaborate paintings

Portraiture

Intricate reliefs

None of these answers

Cult statues depicting deities

Correct answer:

Intricate reliefs

Explanation:

Although Portraiture and divine statues were indeed part of Ancient Roman art, they were not used to decorate sarcophagi, due to their size. While many statues and busts were painted, elaborate paintings were not a big part of ancient Roman art. Intricate reliefs were very commonly seen on sarcophagi. They often depicted day-to-day life as a Roman.

Example Question #4 : Understanding Terminology That Describes Ancient Grecian And Roman Sculpture

Banditaccia sarcofago degli sposi

The work of art shown here was sculpted in _______________.

Possible Answers:

terra cotta

bronze

marble

gold

Correct answer:

terra cotta

Explanation:

Etruscan funerary monuments, such as this Sarcophagus of the Spouses, often featured couples and even whole families that represented the subjects in the afterlife. In order to last eternally and powerfully represent those whose remains were stored inside, these sarcophagi would be created from the earthenware material known as terra cotta. Terra cotta was not only immensely strong, but could also be easily painted to represent the subject of the work of art.

Image accessed through Wikipedia Media Commons: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Louvre-Lens_-_Les_Étrusques_et_la_Méditerranée_-_191_-_Paris,_musée_du_Louvre,_DAGER,_Cp_5194_(Sarcophage_des_Époux)_(A).JPG

Example Question #31 : Ancient Grecian And Roman Sculpture

Etruscan art has a strong relationship to Greek and Mediterranean cultures. The majority of Etruscan art was created out of _________________.

Possible Answers:

sheet rock

marble

terra cotta

dried river mud

Correct answer:

terra cotta

Explanation:

The Etruscans preferred terra cotta over other forms because of the importance to tombs and funeral markers which were made from terra cotta (baked clay). This art form emphasized ornament and display, which was important in their culture along with signifying the importance of the dead.

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