The no eye balls, and half of her

The ancient art work that I have researched is The Hope Athena. This sculpture portrays Athena, the ancient Greek goddess of wisdom and war. The Hope Athena is a beautifully sculpted, work of art. I was amazed by the size of the sculpture. The sculpture is 86 inches tall, according to “The Hope Athena” at The Los Angeles County Museum of Arts.  Approximately the same size as professional basketball player Shaquille O’neil. It was made out of marble, and is an off white creamy color. Looking at this sculpture I couldn’t help but think about the amount of time the creator spent detailing it. From her garment, which consists of a long robe, to her astonishing helmet, as well as her facial qualities. This sculpture is expertly carved. 

At the top of her head, The Hope Athena carries a helmet with a snake in the middle of it.  This sculpture has what seems to be eyebrows right above her eyes but interestingly no eye balls, and half of her nose is missing. Her facial expressions, however, is compatible with that of a real human being. The Hope Athena also has long curly hair that is visible on both sides of her face, right below her helmet and ears. This sculpture has no arms visible, which might be hidden under the long and wrinkled himation she wears. A himation, according to “Curator Notes” for The Hope Athena at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art was an outer garment worn by the ancient Greeks over the left shoulder and under the right. Her himation is long and wrinkly. At the top of the himation, around the neckline, more snakes are present. The Hope Athena’s barefoot toes are also visible. She stands on a marble stone with both legs intact.

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The Hope Athena was sculpted with marble. Marble is a non-foliated metamorphic rock that forms when limestone is subjected to heat and pressure according to “Marble” by Hobart M. King at Geology. It usually lays among the oldest part of the Earth’s crust. The key components of marble are calcite, dolomite crystals, and aragonite. Marble is a great medium because the softness of marble allows the accuracy of carving sculptures that imitate the human characteristics in stone. Marble gives sculptures a waxy finish which adds life to many sculptures according to “Marble” at Wikipedia the Free Encyclopedia. Just like in the case of The Hope Athena.

Many artists resort to marble when creating works of art because it can easily be acquired due its abundance. Marble is often recognized for its usefulness in creating sculptures due to its soft texture. Artists have the ability to carve into marble with ease. Although marble was an unknown medium in other cultures this beautiful rock was used greatly in the ancient Greek world for artistic purposes such as architecture and sculpturing. Various types of marble have been used to create art, but pure white marble was most favored by ancient artists. Most marble sculptures get their color from their natural impurities, although the color can often be altered by the artist. There are also disadvantages that come along when working with marble. Marble does not tolerate handling well so it often absorbs human skin oil when touched, which leads to staining. Another disadvantage of working with marble is its poorly performance in outdoors environment, because it is prune to attack by acid rain.

The process of stone carving starts with the sculptor forming a model of clay or wax and then coping that model in stone by measuring with calipers. Calipers are for measuring internal as well as external dimensions. It has two hinged legs resembling a pair of compasses and in-turned or out-turned points. The artist then begins by getting rid of large portions of unwanted stone. In order to perform this task, the sculptor may use a point chisel, which is a long, heavy built piece of steel with a pointy end and a wide striking surface at the other according to “Marble Sculpture” at Wikipedia. Many artists often also use a pitching tool early in the process. A pitching tool is a wedge-shaped chisel with a broad flat edge. The pitching tool is useful for removing large unwanted chunks. The sculptor may also use a mallet, which is a hammer with a striking, barrel shaped head.

The sculptor places the point of the chisel or the edge of the tool against a desired area, then swings the mallet at it with a managed stroke. He must be careful when striking the end of the tool, because the smallest mistake can damage the stone. It is also extremely important the artist strikes the tools appropriately because he or she can also harm themselves during the process. When the mallet comes in contact with the tool, energy is passed through the tool breaking down the stone. Most sculptors work steady turning the tool with each blow in order to remove the stone quickly and evenly. After the general shape of the statue is acquired the sculptor uses other tools to defined the figure. Next a tooth chisel or a claw chisel is used. A tooth chisel has multiple gouging surfaces which form parallel lines in the stone. These tools are often used to add texture to the figure. Sculptors mark out specific lines by using calipers to measure the area of the stone to be addressed. They mark the removal area with chalk or pencil. A shallower stroke is necessary at this point in the process.

By now the artist has changed the stone from a rough block into the general shape of a finished sculpture. Rasps and rifflers are used next to enhance the shape to its final form. A rasp is a flat steel tool with a rough surface. This tool is used to remove excess stone as small chips or dust. A riffler is a smaller version of a rasps used to create details such as wrinkles in clothing or different qualities of hair. The final stage of this process is polishing. Sand paper can be used in the first process of polishing. Emery, a stone that is harder and rougher than the sculpture media, is also used in the finishing processes. This scraping away, brings out the color of the stone, reveals patterns in the surface and adds a polish. Tin and Iron oxides are often used to give the stone a highly reflective exterior according to “Marble Sculpture” at Wikipedia.

Athena is a famous mythological persona from ancient Greece. The Hope Athena was inspired by Athena the ancient Greek goddess. Athena whose Roman name was Minerva, is often shown with a helmet, shield and spear.  She is the first of three goddesses but is above the other goddesses of the city. She was a virgin goddess, and is sometimes called Athena Parthenos, meaning “protector of virgins”.  Athena was the goddess of wisdom and military victory. She was also the patron of the city of Athens. Athens was the largest of the city-states population. Athens was the capitol in the classical period and it was the center of culture and government. Athena was Hercules half-sister. Her parents were Zeus and Metis, a nymph. However, Athena was not conceived in a woman’s womb instead she leaped from the head of Zeus, already an adult, dressed with her armor. She was Zeus favorite daughter which is why he let her use his badges. The terrible shield, the aegis and his destructive weapon according to “The Goddess Athena” by Roy George at The Encyclopedia of the Goddess Athena.  She wore an ageis, a goat skin which had a fringe of snakes. When Perseus killed the gorgon Medusa, whose face turned men to stone, he gave the gorgon head to Athena, and the goddess placed it on her aegis.

Her tree is the olive because it was created by her and the owl is the birth dedicated to her.  Athena is mentioned in both, The Iliad and The Odyssey, the two epics of Homer. In the most ancient tale, The Iliad, the first epic of Homer, Athena plays an important role because she works to protect the Archean warriors fighting against the Trojans. According to “The Iliad” by homer at The Internet Classics Archived Homer describes Athena as fiery, with “fire that flashed from her eyes…” and “as brave as beautiful she is”. Homer compares her to a “brilliant meteor” flying through the sky when she goes to help the Archeans. She is described as the ferocious and implacable fight. She is a warrior, only to defend her state and native land against the enemies coming from outside. Athena often helped heroes. Athena is the protectress of civilized life, artesian activities, and of agriculture. The Parthenon was a temple dedicated to Athena in Athens. It is the finest example of Greek architecture; however, it was later destroyed by an accidental bombing during war.

Athena is from the Roman Empire’s second century, an early Greek civilization. Greek culture began in stone age era and has been evolving ever since. This civilization were the primary creators of western civilization. Much of western visual art, architecture, entertainment, government, and science started in ancient Greece. Greeks accepted strange people and were fond of new ideas. Major fundamentals of western life were greatly influenced by ancient Greeks, such as democracy, equality under the law and trial by jury. Greeks are responsible for introducing many literary structures and were pioneers in many professional fields such as physics, philosophy, history, geometry, and biology. Greek culture is defined by traditions, music, language, wine, food, art, literature, and the immense passion that Greek people pride themselves on, as well as their ethnic and national sense of belonging.

Greeks were constantly naming their children after religious saints. On specific days of the year a saint is celebrated by the church and anyone named after that saint celebrates “Name Day”. The name day celebration is more important than birthdays in Greek culture and is celebrated by visits from friends and family, with small gifts and good wishes. In Greek culture a couple that wished to be married would first be “engaged”. The engagement was celebrated similar to a wedding, with gifts and an exchange of wedding rings. However, the rings were worn on the opposite hand until the real wedding took place. In Greek culture it was believed that Tuesday the 13th was an unlucky day, instead of Friday the 13th. Literary basics such as epic and lyric poetry, comedy, tragedy and history was introduced by the Greeks. Theatre its self was born in ancient Greece, in classical Athens. Theatre consisted of the three dramatic genres, being satyr, comedy and tragedy. Ancient Greece had many theatres and temples. Greek sculptures were done in stone and marble and so were many monuments. Evidence of wine production in Greece dates as back as 6,500 years ago. Wine was considered valuable and an important item of trade for Greeks.

Famous Greek philosophers include Democritus, Protagoras, Heraclitus, Pythagoras and Thales, Socrates and Plato.