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ARTH101 Discussion Topic 10: Form and Content

For thousands of years sculpture has (literally) been the bedrock of three-dimensional art. Carved from stone or wood, or cast in bronze, so often figurative and, from a western cultural perspective, in a realistic style.

The advent of modern art in the first half of the twentieth century has radically changed the formal characteristics of sculpture and, in some cases, the content. View these three sculptures and comment on the issues of form and content in each one.

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1) Egyptian Sculpture:

AS with most Egyptian sculptures of figures of interest, this granite sculpture of female Pharaoh Hatshepsut follows the traditional conventions and forms used at the time as can be witnessed by her nemes headcloth – a royal attribute usually reserved for the reigning king. Furthermore, the sculpture importantly maintains its form in that the ruler is represented as a tall and strong royal figure. However, it has been altered in a few respects to depict the more feminine attributes as can be seen in her visage, slimmer waist, and breast-shaped torso. The meaning remains consistent with that of her male counterparts: she must be revered and respected just the same. Moreover, because of the hint of a smile on her face the artist is also conveying that she was a friendly and truthful ruler who could be trusted and is thus worthy of their adulation. The smile could also convey her maternal qualities of protecting and nurturing the kingdom as she would her own child.

2) Picasso’s ‘Woman in the Garden’:

In his long career as an artist, Picasso produced many sculptures which didn’t necessarily deviate that much in style or form than from his paintings. In his bronze sculpture Woman in the Garden, Picasso maintains his abstract form to represent a subject that is one of his favorites and most illustrated throughout his career, namely women. With its three-dimensional form, Picasso is able to mesh his subject with elements of a garden. We can see that her head is like a bird house – with just one eye but fancified with distinct curled plumage. Apart from the numerous elements and forms that comprise the rest of the body and which can be interpreted in innumerable ways, Picasso completes the form majestically with the two-pronged tail topped off with large foliage. Both the head and the tail sections are held high and proud also appearing to be in motion which denotes excessive levels of pride and conceitedness. It commands the viewers’ absolute attention; it’s screaming: look at me! At the same time, I think the artist is also trying to convey that he himself should receive the same level of attention for his sculpting abilities as much as he does for his painting.

3) Louise Bourgeois: ‘Cell: Eyes and Mirrors’:

In Louise Bourgeois’ ‘Cell: Eyes and Mirrors’ the most prominent features are the large black “eyes” which protrude from their stone sockets. Next, the mirrors carry the next most significant part of the installation, apart from the cage (cell)
itself. The top panel which also features a pair or large black eyes rotates 360 degrees to reflect the different aspects of the interior of the cell. To me, I think the artist is trying to transmit to viewers that we live in an age where we are constantly under surveillance by the all-seeing authorities from all possible angles. Moreover, the all-seeing eyes are strongly accentuated by both their size and color. The eyes are unusually big and dark which signifies that these are forces not to be reckoned or meddled with. The warning is loud and clear. This premise is further supported by the mirrors found within the cell. This can be a metaphor for how us common citizens are trapped inside a “matrix” or large cell which can be both the physical realm in which we live (the world) as well as in cyberspace. There’s no escaping it. The cage itself signifies that we are trapped inside and there is no way out. Lastly, the form and matter of the “outer skin” – the grid/mesh can easily suggest that those trapped inside the cell can both see, hear, and smell what’s on the outside but not access it. The materials – steel and iron – are strong and virtually indestructible to those trapped inside. It’s a huge tease and taunt by the authorities, if you will. In other words, those living within the matrix are made to suffer while being ridiculed, as they know and can see that freedom lies merely inches within reach, but are trapped and powerless nonetheless. It’s an extremely powerful statement about the current state of globalization and world domination in this period of human civilization.

Dan Fournier, 2016-03-19

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Sculpture Egyptian- Carved form in persistence with the meanings to a woman and her representation in Egypt. Who she is and her story along with her spirit role amongst the gods.
Woman in the Garden- a construction by picasso rather than his paintings. Perhaps this form being done in 3D represents the liveliness and real feel of her being there and the surroundings as we would surround or encircle her in the garden as she is in it as well.
Cells: Eyes and Mirrors- Installation telling a story within things change or assemble at different times in between and near.
Pretty cool!

An excellent case of the cutting procedure is found in the Water and Moon Bodhisattva from tenth-century China. The Bodhisattva, a Buddhist figure who has achieved illumination yet chooses to remain on earth to show others, is perfectly cut and painted. The figure is right around eight feet high, situated in a rich posture on a lotus sprout, loose, gazing straight ahead with a quiet, generous look. The all-inclusive right arm and raised knee make a stable triangular organization. The stone worker cuts the left arm to mimic muscle strain inalienable when it bolsters the heaviness of the body.

In another model, you can see the high level of alleviation cut from a unique cedar wood obstruct in the Earthquake Mask from the Pacific Northwest Coast Kwakwaka’ wakw culture. It’s uncommon for covers to represent a characteristic occasion. This and other mythic figure covers are utilized in custom and service moves. The wide zones of paint give an uplifted feeling of character to this veil.

A shape is produced using a unique wax mold that is liquefied away to make a negative hole into which liquid metal is poured. Customarily, throwing materials are normally metals, nonetheless, they can likewise be different cold-setting materials that fix in the wake of combining at least two parts; models are epoxy, solid, mortar, and earth. Throwing is frequently utilized for making complex shapes that would be generally troublesome or uneconomical to make by different strategies. It’s a work escalated process that occasionally takes into consideration the formation of products from a unique article (like the mechanism of printmaking), every one of which is very strong and precisely like its ancestor. A form is normally annihilated after the ideal number of castings has been made. Generally, bronze statues were set on platforms to imply the significance of the figure portrayed. A statue of William Seward (underneath), the U. S. Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln and who arranged the acquisition of the Alaska regions, is set almost eight feet high so watchers must gaze toward him. Remaining beside the globe, he holds a move of plans in his left hand.

Some cutting edge and contemporary figures join development, light and sound. Active models utilize encompassing air flows or engines enabling them to move, changing in structure as the watcher remains set up. The craftsman Alexander Calder is renowned for his mobiles, unconventional, dynamic works that are unpredictably adjusted to move at the scarcest wisp of air, while the models of Jean Tinguely are contraption-like and, like Nevelson’s and Butterfield’s works, built of scraps frequently found in trash dumps. His mechanized works display a mechanical stylish as they hum, shake and create clamors. Tinguely’s most well known work, Homage to New York, ran in the figure garden at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 1960 as a feature of a presentation by the craftsman. Following a few minutes, the work detonated and burst into flames.

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good academic description

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All those artifacts are representation of the human body, influenced by the historical period and the purpose of the artifact. In Egypt, the sculpture of the Pharaoh is to celebrate the power of the queen. The material chosen was the one that supposedly would have last for century-like the name and the memory of the woman. In Picasso, the human body and the perception of space is altered or changed according to the rules of Cubism. It is a different way to see things. In Cells Eyes and Mirrors the artist use different materials, not traditionally used for artworks, like mirrors and other metalllic objects. The human body is divided or reduced to cells, eyes and mirrors which represents the altered perspective of the reality.


The Egyptian sculpture is a casted granite life-size statue depicting Hatshepsut in a female attire, but wearing the nemes head-cloth , that is a royal attribute reserved for the reigning king.
picaso’s women in the garden was created by him and his sculptor friend Julio Gonzalez.The sculpture was made from welded cast iron and stands at 206x117x85 cm tall.the sculpture figure itself is a surrealist stature and comes from the neoclassical and surrealist period. In addition, to the sculpture itself being a homage to the late poet Guillaume Apollinaire, a friend of Picasso’s and Gonzalez
Louise bourgeois’s :(Eyes and Mirrors)was. Instructed fro a mixture of such salvaged architectural materials as old doors. This Cell has the structure of a cube.the Cube’s ceiling and two walls are made of woven iron mesh joined by iron bals which are hinged in place.This sculpture is a later version of a work made by bourgeois in 1984titled Nature study(VelvetEyes) (Collection galerie Lelong , Zurich). Louise Bourgeois has subsequently developed several versions of eyes carved in marble.


Egyptian Sculpture

The sculpture mimics a mythological age of a human bod y with an outfit that shows a feminist figure, portraying a pose, seated with her hands flat on her thighs, indicates a religious right to receive offerings. She has a visual symbol of royalty and power, wearing a pharaonic headdress of a cobra style to represents a position in a throne. The sculpture is carved in a heavy block of stone, immovable that is placed in an area where viewers can move around it. This Statue has a static stable serene, staring down at people. The surface of its cubic chair, and on her feet have encryption, which are iconography that represents the Kingdom of Egypt, and its historical event. This statue shows symmetrical balance, sitting with both elbows in a relaxed position, putting her hands in a similar direction of the feet pointing to the foreground. The chest is in upright with her body in an exact angle that can be traced in an L shape position with her foot soles, resting on an elevated solid podium attached to the vertical cubic stone.

Picasso’s Woman in the Garden

Picasso’s “Woman in the Garden is a combined composition of lines and flat shapes. The figure is abstract, which is difficult to define its feminist appearance but given its title as a “Woman”. The slopping two straight lines behind the figure, have flowers in each end, organic in its shapes, which means “from the flower garden”. There’s a large leaf standing in a vertical position that covers the back of the body if you are to view it at the rear part. You can see bits of hair on the top of the head, which is wavy. The lower part of the body can be figured as the body of an animal with several skinny legs with tiny foot soles. The statue is on a stable position in a triangular base that is weightless.

This art form shows a combined spirit of efforts and desires, combining ideas on forming something that just came out in the mind of the artist, his freedom to think and do based on his perception, will, and ability to do out of curiosity, and creativity.

Louise Bourgeois’ Cell: Eyes and Mirrors

This art form assembled mechanically with knowledge of industrial design. The middle sculpture inside the cubic cell is a heavy, carve in a stone or marble. Inside, you see mirrors in a triad arrangement, where you can see only yourself. The statue inside can be illustrated as a short human being, sitting down with huge bulging black eyes that pop up, there are no other details of the eyes, but just the round bulging black eyes. These elements of sculpture may represent someone who is closely observing his environment, like clever eyes to see and waiting for an instance to gain freedom. This installation of the art form has psychological meaning to the human experience that only its creator knows what it symbolizes unless being revealed and interpreted. A personal traumatic experience, that wanting to tell, but afraid of telling, and only the voice of art could be its mean. Looking at the sculptured eyes, are symmetrically formed inside of a circular shape, it has blind eyes that see nothing but seemingly looking at you. Seeing its dark color, you can feel the agony inside, imprisoned by his grief and sadness. The mirrors could also be the symbol of vanity, a self-pride. It could also mean, eyes of your enemies watching at your self-misfortune. In opposite, mirrors could mean acceptance of who you are, what you’ve been through in the movement of time. It means that freedom and happiness can only be obtained in a manner of accepting what could be within yourself.

Indeed, art is a representation of human life, it symbolizes something that only the creator of the art form knows the hidden meaning of it, unless being revealed and interpreted psychologically. The historical content leaves a legacy of every artist, whose intention is to give voices to the unspeakable mouth, but its true meaning buried in the heart of the artist.


Very descriptive evaluation of each artwork. Your interpretations are most impressive and interesting.


Egyption Sculpture
The Egyption sculpture is a free-standing sculpture, as one can go around it to see it from all the sides. It shows signs of creation in relief as the head veil is raised above the chest of the pharaoh. It has probably been carved out of limestone as the whole piece belongs to a single stone. Organic lines have been used to define the slender waist and the long torso, signifying power and prestige. It has also been used to define the more intricate features such as eyes, nose and mouth of the pharaoh. Textures have been used throughout the body to give the illusion of mass. The face stands out as it is cast upon the body of the figure. Also the back of the body has detailed carving of lines that symbolise a Goddess Lpi. Thus the area has been used from all directions.

Picasso’s Woman in the Garden
This metal structure uses straight and expressive lines to convey meaning. The lady stands tall in the garden, the stems of flora propping up straight and having some organically defined leaves. A bird seems to be sitting on the lady’s hands with its beak perched upwards. The lady’s face seems like a bird house, but is made expressive by using darkened eyes and the upward moving hair which represents the breezy conditions towards the direction of movement of the flora. The entire sculpture uses cold shades of grey and no colour or texture. It is again a free-standing piece .

Louise Bourgeois’ Cell: Eyes and Mirrors
In this sculpture the artist has made a very raw and bold design of two large black balls facing the viewer and two more reflecting the outside scenario inside through mirrors placed at certain angles within the structure he calls cell. I feel the cell is in the form of a see-through mesh that allows one outside to look inside only to the two eyes that are down, not clearly the eyes placed at the top. I feel the cell reflects out intellect and body. Wherein the eyes placed down are the real eyes that see the world around us and observe things. But the eyes at the top, they are for a different purpose. I feel they are the eyes of the soul or the third eye as I can call it. It reflects the feelings we have and the bigger picture, or the perspective with which we view, think and imagine the world. The soul can be reperesented by the mirror which never lies and only reflects the truth. Thus, the cold, colourless, rough textured structure may have a deeper meaning when it comes to our thoughts.


I think there very unique and abstract in it own ways

  • Egyptian Sculpture
    It is a life-size royal female statue. Art in ancient time tends to reproduce the real world and acquire a function, and this statue is no exception. It is a representational art that functions as a statue to show the king’s authority. The statue is not hiding the king is a female but using a muscular lines in the body to show her social status. She sits on a rectangle chair which gives a stable structure for the 3-dimensional art.

  • Picasso’s Woman in the Garden
    Picasso’s art is a revolution at 19th century and the statue implies the extension of Picasso’s Cubism painting, flatness and abstract. Plants in garden and the woman mixed together to form a new idea of space. The background and the main character emerged together which the spacial area is flatter. Curve lines of plants and woman’s hair resonance to give a windy movement in the statue.

  • Louise Bourgeois’ Cell: Eyes and Mirrors
    It is non-object and non-representational art. Form of 3-dimensional art has became more and more distinct with real world, having a special spacial form to express artist’s cognitive in seeing the world. In the statue, it is a cage with eye surrounded by different shapes of mirror inside. The eye convey a sense of monumental force, both inviting and repelling the viewer’s gaze.

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1 ) Egyptian Sculpture

To the untrained eye, this may seem a simple piece of little relevance, just another Pharaoh, one statue to join many others of a similar nature – however, upon closer inspection, there are many non-conventional attributes to this sculpture. Firstly, this is Female Pharaoh Hatshepsut, depicted in traditional feminine robes, but she wears the nemes –headcloth, a royal attire usually reserved for the reigning king. Secondly, In the columns of text inscribed beside her legs on the front of the throne, she has the masculine throne name, but her titles and personal names are still feminine, making her “Lady of the Two Lands”. Third, On the back of the throne, part of the preserved scene is inclusive of a goddess with the body of a pregnant hippopotamus with feline legs and a crocodile tail, resembling both Taweret , the goddess who protects women and children and Ipi , a royal protector. Finally, her personal name, Hatshepsut, which means “foremost of noblewomen,” or a feminine grammatical form that indicates her gender, additionally, her figure has very obviously been carved into a feminine shape. All of this portrays a strong female leader, unafraid to step up to the predominantly masculine role, yet her facial expression is peaceful and kind, holds a maternal hint; at the same time she sits with the unwavering regal formality of a ruler, straight back, head held high, hands straight on her lap. It’s easy to imagine her as a dutiful and well respected and liked leader.

2) Picasso’s Woman in the Garden

This is indeed a very curious representation of a piece. It is said to depict a woman sitting in a garden with flowers, though I fail to see it. It was the last in a series of pieces the artist submitted to a memorial committee in search of a graveside marker for the poet Guillaume Apollinaire, who died in 1918 and was a friend and supporter of Picasso’s. Picasso had no training in metalwork. So, he began collaborating with artist Julio González, a skilled welder who helped him make this sculpture; the lack of experience did not thwart the artist’s ambition as Woman in the Garden is Picasso’s largest sculpture.

Two versions of this model were made, a welded iron version, whitewashed, that was originally rejected, and Picasso adopted the sculpture for a short while. This rejection may have led to Picasso commissioning González to build a second model, cast in bronze, an entirely personal commission, which was later placed in his garden, so, it is safe to assume Picasso had a particular fondness for this piece. I would like to address the subject of the two models, I think the decision to paint the original was a wise one, the reason being it makes the model appear more unified, it looks more like a statue and less like machinery, it softens the hard edge given by the metallic colour, but given that Picasso’s private version is unpainted, does that suggest he preferred it that way?

It is easy to draw our individual conclusions of the appearance if this abstracted memorial, yet it pays to bear in mind that the work of both sculptors forms part of the origins of the modern tradition of iron sculpture, even at the time of creation, it was challenging the boundaries between drawing and volume.

3) Louise Bourgeois: ‘Cell: Eyes and Mirrors’

In her later life, Bourgeois made two series of boxed installation works she described as Cells. Some are small containers holding various objects for the viewer to assess. Others are small rooms into which the viewer is invited to enter. In the cells, Bourgeois uses earlier sculptural forms, found objects as well as personal items that carried strong personal emotional value for the artist. I find this particularly interesting, as Bourgeois created a lot of works with a deep emotional meaning, it seems as if trapping and encasing her previous objects in a new layout, was almost the conclusion of her work, of her life, like she had been showing you the jigsaw pieces of her life and now she was finally grouping them into chunks for us to piece together. Or maybe I’m overanalysing because psychoanalytical criticism is hard to give and can often be interpreted wrongly.

Bourgeois stated that the Cells represent “different types of pain; physical, emotional and psychological, mental and intellectual … Each Cell deals with a fear. Fear is pain … Each Cell deals with the pleasure of the viewer, the thrill of looking and being looked at”. Henceforth, the cells enclose psychological and intellectual states, primarily feelings of fear and pain. I particularly think this quote by the artist is interesting:

‘reality changes with each new angle. Mirrors can be seen as a vanity, but that is not all their meaning. The act of looking into a mirror is really about having the courage it takes to look at yourself and really face yourself.’
This begs the question of whether this piece is a physical manifestation of the artists’ emotions or a physical reflection of the viewers’ emotions. I believe it to be both. I think the fear this box represents is the dread of being alone with yourself, trapped in your mind and having to face what you are, as many people are ashamed or disappointed or angry or nervous about what they have become.

Many consider it vain to look in a mirror, but some of the vainest people use their reflection, as they cannot bear to look at their true selves, and this, I suspect, is what the eyes represent, all-seeing judgments that look directly into your soul rather than at your face, that can see you for who you are despite what the mirror may show. This piece is a lot more interactive than it would seem at a first glance and seems to have an interpersonal relationship with each viewer, I fancy everyone that looks at it sees a version of themselves encased inside, therefore the experience is different for every one of us.

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Each sculpture expresses their own emotions and meanings, Egyptian sculptures were more for the higher in society. Picassos sculpture is strange,unique, but cool, and Louise is very different with the mirror and cage including the other objects.

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The Egyptian sculptures are utilitarian in nature.
There purpose is not aesthetic (the beauty of them is something secondary).
It is a hieratic sculpture solemn and ceremonious.
The human figures excessively respected the rules of the official label.

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