AP Art History : Renaissance to Contemporary Sculpture

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Art History

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Renaissance To Contemporary Sculpture

the following image is public domain, and can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_(Donatello)#/media/File:Florence_-_David_by_Donatello.jpg

The work is noteworthy for bringing attention to __________.

Possible Answers:

the overt sexuality of the human body

the true end of Classical Paganism

the blending of Classical and Christian culture

the triumph of the anointed

Correct answer:

the blending of Classical and Christian culture

Explanation:

David is the first instance in which there is a genuine blending of the Christian faith and the styles and forms of Classical figural art. Here is the first time that biblical figures are represented in the styles of the Classical masters. Yes, he is not the freestanding nudes we recognize- the Boxer, the Discus Thrower, those trim and muscled figures. David clings to the vestiges of Gothic figures, but he is nude and freestanding and has paved the way for more of his kind. 

Example Question #1 : Renaissance To Contemporary Sculpture

the following image is public domain, and can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_(Donatello)#/media/File:Florence_-_David_by_Donatello.jpg

The work demonstrates Donatello's interest in __________.

Possible Answers:

the human body

Italian Christian society

All of these

new artistic styles and figural forms

Correct answer:

All of these

Explanation:

Donatello had a clear interest in the human form. Many believed when he unveiled the piece that it had to have been done in life, it was so true to form. He also, though, was the first of his kind to use bronze in a freestanding nude (this hasn't been done since the Classical era). He is finally making a statement of Italian society, and the importance of blending Christian art and modernizing life.

Example Question #1 : Renaissance To Contemporary Sculpture

David 1475.jpg large

Who is the subject of this sculpture, a popular figure in Renaissance art?

Possible Answers:

Hercules

John the Baptist

Samson

David

Moses

Correct answer:

David

Explanation:

This is David, also sculpted by artists like Donatello and Michelangelo. The head of Goliath sits at David's feet. John the Baptist was also beheaded, but by Salome, a woman. Hercules and Samson tend to be represented with more muscularity, and Moses is usually an older figure. 

Work is in the public domain, accessed through WikiArt: http://www.wikiart.org/en/andrea-del-verrocchio/david-1475

Example Question #1 : Renaissance To Contemporary Sculpture

Michelangelo's David displays this compositional technique, wherein the figure's posture is tense on one side and relaxed on the other because its weight is shifted disproportionately to one foot.

Possible Answers:

Figura serpentinata

Formal balance

Interaxial balance

Contrappusto

Correct answer:

Contrappusto

Explanation:

"Contrappusto" (meaning counterpose in Italian) is the term used to describe a posture in which the figure's weight is shifted to one foot, causing the shoulders and hips to twist off the body's central axis so they are no longer parallel, as seen in David. It was introduced in Classical Greek art and rediscovered in the Renaissance.

Example Question #1 : Understanding Terminology That Describes Seventeenth And Eighteenth Century Sculpture

Equestrian statues were favored by absolute monarchs in the seventeenth century because __________.

Possible Answers:

they depicted the subject as an everyday person

they conveyed a sense of grandeur and power about the monarch being depicted

they showed the subject interacting with a lowly animal

they showed that the subject was an expert rider of horses

Correct answer:

they conveyed a sense of grandeur and power about the monarch being depicted

Explanation:

Equestrian statues, even when life-size, created a portrait of their subjects on massive scales. While commonplace in Rome, they were hardly made after the fall of Rome until the Renaissance, and in the age of absolutism in the seventeenth century, they were made all across Europe to commemorate and celebrate monarchs. These statues made the monarchs depicted in them appear intimidating, grandiose, and worthy of their position as absolute monarchs.

Example Question #1 : Fourteenth Through Sixteenth Century Sculpture

the following image is public domain, and can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_(Donatello)#/media/File:Florence_-_David_by_Donatello.jpg

The sculptor of this work is ___________.

Possible Answers:

Donatello

Michelangelo

Bernini

Leonardo da Vinci

Correct answer:

Donatello

Explanation:

This work is Donatello's David. It predates the Davids of both Michelangelo as well as Bernini. Donatello was known among his colleagues for his freestanding work, and had in fact created a freestanding marble version of David that predates even this one. That David, though, was not nude where this one clearly is.

Example Question #1 : Renaissance To Contemporary Sculpture

the following image is public domain, and can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_(Donatello)#/media/File:Florence_-_David_by_Donatello.jpg

The subject of the work is ___________.

Possible Answers:

John the Baptist

Saul

Socrates

David

Correct answer:

David

Explanation:

This sculpture is a depiction of David, the young man who defeated the Giant Goliath in the First Testament story of the bible. He can be identified by his youthful appearance (David was one of the only youths being depicted at the time, apart from the baby Jesus). He can also be identified through his pose, where he stands atop the severed head of the giant Goliath, as the victor in their battle. 

Example Question #1 : Identifying Artists, Works, Or Schools Of Fourteenth Through Sixteenth Century Sculpture

the following image is public domain, and can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_(Donatello)#/media/File:Florence_-_David_by_Donatello.jpg

The medium of the work is __________.

Possible Answers:

obsidian

bronze

nickel

marble

Correct answer:

bronze

Explanation:

As is traditional, Donatello's statue is made of bronze, after the practice of Classical Greece. Though marble is a more popular medium later (it is cheaper and its whiteness appealed to the Renaissance masters), the freestanding bronze works are a testament to the renewed interest in Classical works.

Example Question #1 : Identifying Artists, Works, Or Schools Of Fourteenth Through Sixteenth Century Sculpture

Which Early Renaissance Italian sculptor influenced later sculptors with his characteristic "figura serpentinata" forms?

Possible Answers:

Lorenzo Ghiberti 

Filippo Brunelleschi 

Andrea Pisano 

Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi (Donatello)

Correct answer:

Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi (Donatello)

Explanation:

Sculptures by Donatello (ca. 1386–1466) often feature a spiraling "figura serpentinata" composition style that entices the viewer to move around the piece to view it from every angle. Sculptors who came after him often used this technique, and it could be said that he introduced it. 

Example Question #1 : Fourteenth Through Sixteenth Century Sculpture

Michelangelo's statue known as the Pietà is remarkable for its depiction of the Virgin Mary as __________.

Possible Answers:

extremely youthful

remarkably unattractive

completely exultant

horrifically ancient

Correct answer:

extremely youthful

Explanation:

Michelangelo's Pietà follows the traditional theme of such pieces of art by having the Virgin Mary cradling a dead Jesus Christ after his crucifixion. Michelangelo depicted Mary in stunning realism for the sixteenth century, while also presenting her as extremely youthful. Michelangelo claimed that a completely chaste woman would hardly age, despite being the mother of a thirty-three year old man.

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