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December 04, 2007

Western art history

Western art is the art of Europe, and those parts of the world that have come to follow predominantly European cultural traditions such as North America.

Written histories of Western art often begin with the art of the Ancient Middle East, Ancient Egypt and the Ancient Aegean civilisations, dating from the 3rd millennium BC. Parallel with these significant cultures, art of one form or another existed all over Europe, wherever there were people, leaving signs such as carvings, decorated artifacts and huge standing stones. However a consistent pattern of artistic development within Europe becomes clear only with the art of Ancient Greece, adopted and transformed by Rome and carried, with the Empire, across much of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

The influence of the art of the Classical period waxed and waned throughout the next two thousand years, seeming to slip into a distant memory in the Medieval period, to re-emerge in the Renaissance, suffer a period of what some early art historians viewed as "decay" during the Baroque period,[1] to reappear in a refined form in Neo-Classicism and to be re-born in Post-Modernism.

The other major influence upon Western art has been Christianity, the commissions of the Church, architectural, painterly and sculptural, providing the major source of work for artists for about 1400 years, from 300 AD to about 1700 AD. The history of the Church was very much reflected in the history of art, during this period.

Secularism has influenced Western art since the Classical period, while most art of the last 200 years has been produced without reference to religion and often with no particular ideology at all. On the other hand, Western art has often been influenced by politics of one kind or another, of the state, of the patron and of the artist.

Western art is arranged into a number of stylistic periods, which, historically, overlap each other as different styles flourished in different areas. Broadly the periods are, Classical, Byzantine, Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Modern. Each of these is further subdivided.

Ancient Classical art

Main article: Ancient art

Egypt, Greece, Rome,Early Christian

Ancient Egypt, a civilization with very strong traditions of architecture and sculpture (both originally painted in bright colours) also had many mural paintings in temples and buildings, and painted illustrations to papyrus manuscripts. Egyptian wall painting and decorative painting is often graphic, sometimes more symbolic than realistic. Although artists as contemporary as Pablo Picasso have been directly inspired by Egyptian painting and sculpture. Egyptian painting depicts figures in bold outline and flat silhouette, in which symmetry is a constant characteristic. Egyptian painting has close connection with its written language - called Egyptian hieroglyphs. The Egyptians also painted on linen, remnants of which survive today. In fact painted symbols are found amongst the first forms of written language, and religion. However it is Ancient Egypt's mysterious and compelling architecture that has had the most impact on modern art historians. The Great Pyramids, the Great Sphinx of Giza, and the smaller pyramids and tombs of Ancient Egypt are among the Seven Wonders of the World.

To the north of Egypt was the Minoan civilization on the island of Crete. The wall paintings found in the palace of Knossos are similar to that of the Egyptians but much more free in style. Around 1100 B.C., tribes from the north of Greece conquered Greece and the Greek art took a new direction.

The western side of the Parthenon on the Acropolis of Athens.
The western side of the Parthenon on the Acropolis of Athens.

Ancient Greece had great painters, great sculptors, and great architects. The Parthenon is an example of their architecture that has lasted to modern days. Greek marble sculpture is often described as the highest form of Classical art. Painting on pottery of Ancient Greece and ceramics gives a particularly informative glimpse into the way society in Ancient Greece functioned. Black-figure vase painting and Red-figure vase painting gives many surviving examples of what Greek painting was. Some famous Greek painters on wooden panels who are mentioned in texts are Apelles, Zeuxis and Parrhasius, however no examples of Ancient Greek panel painting survive, only written descriptions by their contemporaries or later Romans. Zeuxis lived in 5-6 BC and was said to be the first to use sfumato. According to Pliny the Elder, the realism of his paintings was such that birds tried to eat the painted grapes. Apelles is described as the greatest painter of Antiquity for perfect technique in drawing, brilliant color and modeling.

Bust of Antinous, c. 130 AD
Bust of Antinous, c. 130 AD

Roman art was influenced by Greece and can in part be taken as a descendant of ancient Greek painting and sculpture. Roman sculpture, is primarily portraiture derived from the upper classes of society as well as depictions of the gods. However, Roman painting does have important unique characteristics. The only surviving Roman paintings are wall paintings, many from villas in Campania, in Southern Italy. Such painting can be grouped into 4 main "styles" or periods[2] and may contain the first examples of trompe-l'oeil, pseudo-perspective, and pure landscape.[3] Almost the only painted portraits surviving from the Ancient world are a large number of coffin-portraits of bust form found in the Late Antique cemetery of Al-Fayum. Although these were neither of the best period nor the highest quality, they are impressive in themselves, and give an idea of the quality that the finest ancient work must have had. A very small number of miniatures from Late Antique illustrated books also survive, and a rather larger number of copies of them from the Early Medieval period.

[edit] Medieval

Main article: Medieval art

Most surviving art from the Medieval period was religious in focus, often funded by the Church, powerful ecclesiastical individuals such as bishops, communal groups such as abbeys, or wealthy secular patrons. Many had specific liturgical functions — processional crosses and altarpieces, for example.

One of the central questions about Medieval art concerns its lack of realism. A great deal of knowledge of perspective in art and understanding of the human figure was lost with the fall of Rome. But many also point out that realism was not the primary concern of Medieval artists. They were simply trying to send a religious message, a task which demands clear iconic images instead of precisely rendered ones.

Time Period: 6th century to 15th century

[edit] Byzantine

Main article: Byzantine art

Byzantine art overlaps with or merges with what we call Early Christian art until the iconoclasm period of 730-843 when the vast majority of artwork with figures was destroyed; so little remains that today any discovery sheds new understanding. After 843 until 1453 there is a clear Byzantine art tradition. It is often the finest art of the Middle Ages in terms of quality of material and workmanship, with production centered on Constantinople. Byzantine art's crowning achievement were the monumental frescos and mosaics inside domed churches, most of which have not survived due to natural disasters and the appropriation of churches to mosques.

[edit] Celtic

Main article: Celtic art

Celtic art in the Middle Ages describes the art of native Celtic speaking peoples of Ireland and Britain from about the 5th century, with the Roman withdrawal, to about the 10th century establishment of Romanesque art. The 5th to 7th centuries were mainly a continutation of the late Iron Age La Tène art with some Roman modifications, while in the 7th and 8th centuries saw a fusion with Germanic traditions through contact with the Anglo-Saxons creating what is called the Hiberno-Saxon style or Insular art, and then finally late in the period some Viking inspirations are seen in Ireland.

[edit] Romanesque

Main article: Romanesque art

Romanesque art refers to the period from about 1000 to the rise of Gothic art in the 12th century, which developed in conjunction with the rise of monasticism in Western Europe and particularly France, but also included Christian Spain, England, Flanders, Germany, Italy, and elsewhere. Its architecture is dominated by thick walls, short, squat structures, and round-headed windows and arches. The name comes from 19th century art historians, as it was the first time since ancient Rome that Roman architectural forms were clearly used.

[edit] Gothic

Main article: Gothic art

Gothic art is a variable term depending on the craft, place and time. The term originated with Gothic architecture in 1140, but Gothic painting did not appear until around 1200 (this date has many qualifications), when it diverged from Romanesque style. Gothic sculpture was born in France in 1144 with the renovation of the Abbey Church of S. Denis and spread throughout Europe, by the 13th century it had become the international style, replacing Romanesque. International Gothic describes Gothic art from about 1360 to 1430, after which Gothic art merges into Renaissance art at different times in different places. During this period forms such as painting, in fresco and on panel, become newly important, and the end of the period includes new media such as prints.

[edit] Renaissance

Main article: Renaissance art

The Renaissance is characterized by a focus on the arts of Ancient Greece and Rome, which led to many changes in both the technical aspects of painting and sculpture, as well as to their subject matter. It began in Italy, a country rich in Roman heritage as well as material prosperity to fund artists. During the Renaissance, painters began to enhance the realism of their work by using new techniques in perspective, thus representing three dimensions more authentically. Artists also began to use new techniques in the manipulation of light and darkness, such as the tone contrast evident in many of Titian's portraits and the development of sfumato and chiaroscuro by Leonardo da Vinci. Sculptors, too, began to rediscover many ancient techniques such as contrapposto. Following with the humanist spirit of the age, art became more secular in subject matter, depicting ancient mythology in addition to Christian themes. This genre of art is often referred to as Renaissance Classicism. In the North, the most important Renaissance innovation was the widespread use of oil paints, which allowed for greater colour and intensity.

[edit] From Gothic to the Renaissance

During the late 13th and early 14th centuries, much of the painting in Italy was Byzantine in Character, notably that of Duccio of Siena and Cimabue of Florence, while Pietro Cavallini in Rome was more Gothic in style.

In 1290 Giotto began painting in a manner that was less traditional and more based upon observation of nature. His famous cycle at the Scrovegni Chapel, Padua, is seen as the beginnings of a Renaissance style.

Other painters of the 14th century were carried the Gothic style to great elaboration and detail. Notable among these painters are Simone Martini and Gentile da Fabriano.

In the Netherlands, the technique of painting in oils rather than tempera, led itself to a form of elaboration that was not dependant upon the application of gold leaf and embossing, but upon the minute depiction of the natural world. The art of painting textures with great realism evolved at this time. Dutch painters such as Jan van Eyck and Hugo van der Goes were to have great influence on Late Gothic and Early Renaissance painting.

[edit] Early Renaissance

The ideas of the Renaissance first emerged in the city-state of Florence. The sculptor Donatello returned to classical techniques such as contrapposto and classical subjects like the unsupported nude — his second sculpture of David was the first free-standing bronze nude created in Europe since the Roman Empire. The sculptor and architect Brunelleschi studied the architectural ideas of ancient Roman buildings for inspiration. Masaccio perfected elements like composition, individual expression, and human form to paint frescoes, especially those in the Brancacci Chapel, of surprising elegance, drama, and emotion.

A remarkable number of these major artists worked on different portions of the Florence Cathedral. Brunelleschi's dome for the cathedral was one of the first truly revolutionary architectural innovations since the Gothic flying buttress. Donatello created many of its sculptures. Giotto and Lorenzo Ghiberti also contributed to the cathedral.

[edit] High Renaissance

High Renaissance artists include such figures as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo Buonarroti, and Raffaello Santi.

The 15th-century artistic developments in Italy (for example, the interest in perspectival systems, in depicting anatomy, and in classical cultures) matured during the 16th century, accounting for the designations “Early Renaissance” for the 15th century and “High Renaissance” for the 16th century. Although no singular style characterizes the High Renaissance, the art of those most closely associated with this Period—Leonardo daVinci, Raphael, Michelangelo, and Titian—exhibits an astounding mastery, both technical and aesthetic. High Renaissance artists created works of such authority that generations of later artists relied on these artworks for instruction. These exemplary artistic creations further elevated the prestige of artists. Artists could claim divine inspiration, thereby raising visual art to a status formerly given only to poetry. Thus, painters, sculptors, and architects came into their own, successfully claiming for their work a high position among the fine arts. In a sense, 16th- century masters created a new profession with its own rights of expression and its own venerable character.

[edit] Northern Renaissance

Another equally important but less well known figure of the Renaissance is Jan van Eyck(1366-1441), a Flemish painter often attributed with "bringing the Renaissance North." (see: Early Renaissance paintings).

Jerome Bosch(1450?-1516), a Dutch painter, is another important figure in the Northern Renaissance. In his paintings, he used religious themes, but combined them with grotesque fantasies, colourful imagery, and peasant folk legends. His paintings often reflect the confusion and anguish associated with the end of the Middle Ages.

Northern Renaissance art was not as concerned with perspective and the figure as that of the Italian Renaissance. The cornerstone of the Northern Renaissance was the development of oil painting.

Time Period:

  • Italian Renaissance — Late 14th century to Early 16th century
  • Northern Renaissance — 16th century

[edit] Mannerism, Baroque and Rococo

Main articles: Mannerism, Baroque art, and Rococo

In European art, Renaissance Classicism spawned two different movements— Mannerism and the Baroque. Mannerism, a reaction against the idealist perfection of Classicism, employed distortion of light and spatial frameworks in order to emphasize the emotional content of a painting and the emotions of the painter. The work of El Greco is a particularly clear example of Mannerism in painting during the late 16th, early 17th centuries. Baroque art took the representationalism of the Renaissance to new heights, emphasizing detail, movement, lighting, and drama in their search for beauty. Perhaps the best known Baroque painters are Rembrandt, Peter Paul Rubens, Diego Velázquez, and Caravaggio. Baroque art is often seen as part of the Counter-Reformation— the artistic element of the revival of spiritual life in the Roman Catholic Church. Additionally, the emphasis that Baroque art placed on grandeur is seen as Absolutist in nature. Louis XIV said, "I am grandeur incarnate", and many Baroque artists served kings who tried to realize this goal. However, the Baroque love for detail is often considered overly-ornate and gaudy, especially as it developed into the even more richly decorated style of Rococo. This can also be seen in the ornate styles of lineography. After the death of Louis XIV, Rococo flourished for a short while, but soon fell out of favor. Indeed, disgust for the ornateness of Rococo was the impetus for Neoclassicism.

Time Period:

[edit] Neoclassicism, Romanticism, Academism and Realism

As time passed, many artists were repulsed by the ornate grandeur of these styles and sought to revert to the earlier, simpler art of the Renaissance, creating Neoclassicism. Neoclassicism was the artistic component of the intellectual movement known as the Enlightenment, which was similarly idealistic. Ingres, Canova, and Jacques-Louis David are among the best-known neoclassicists.

Just as Mannerism rejected Classicism, so did Romanticism reject the ideas of the Enlightenment and the aesthetic of the Neoclassicists. Romantic art focused on the use of color and motion in order to portray emotion, but like classicism used Greek and Roman mythology and tradition as an important source of symbolism. Another important aspect of Romanticism was its emphasis on nature and portraying the power and beauty of the natural world. Romanticism was also a large literary movement, especially in poetry. Among the greatest Romantic artists were Eugène Delacroix, Francisco Goya, J.M.W. Turner, John Constable, Caspar David Friedrich, Thomas Cole, and William Blake.

Most artists attempted to take a centrist approach which adopted different features of Neoclassicist and Romanticist styles, in order to synthesize them. The different attempts took place within the French Academy, and collectively are called Academic art. Adolphe William Bouguereau is considered a chief example of this stream of art.

In the early 19th century the face of Europe, however, became radically altered by industrialization. Poverty, squalor, and desperation were to be the fate of the new working class created by the "revolution." In response to these changes going on in society, the movement of Realism emerged. Realism sought to accurately portray the conditions and hardships of the poor in the hopes of changing society. In contrast with Romanticism, which was essentially optimistic about mankind, Realism offered a stark vision of poverty and despair. Similarly, while Romanticism glorified nature, Realism portrayed life in the depths of an urban wasteland. Like Romanticism, Realism was a literary as well as an artistic movement. The great Realist painters include Jean Baptiste Siméon Chardin, Gustave Courbet, Jean-François Millet, Camille Corot, Honoré Daumier, Edouard Manet, Edgar Degas (both considered as Impressionists), and Thomas Eakins, among others.

The response of architecture to industrialisation, in stark contrast to the other arts, was to veer towards historicism. Although the railway stations built during this period are often considered the truest reflections of its spirit – they are sometimes called "the cathedrals of the age" – the main movements in architecture during the Industrial Age were revivals of styles from the distant past, such as the Gothic Revival. Related movements were the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, who attempted to return art to its state of "purity" prior to Raphael, and the Arts and Crafts Movement, which reacted against the impersonality of mass-produced goods and advocated a return to medieval craftsmanship.

Time Period:

[edit] Modern art

Main article: Modern art

Out of the naturalist ethic of Realism grew a major artistic movement, Impressionism. The Impressionists pioneered the use of light in painting as they attempted to capture light as seen from the human eye. Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, were all involved in the Impressionist movement.

Following the Impressionists came Fauvism, often considered the first "modern" genre of art. Just as the Impressionists revolutionized light, so did the fauvists rethink color, painting their canvases in bright, wild hues. After the Fauvists, modern art began to develop in all its forms, ranging from Expressionism, concerned with evoking emotion through objective works of art, to Cubism, the art of transposing a three-dimensional reality onto a flat canvas, to Abstract art. These new art forms pushed the limits of traditional notions of "art" and corresponded to the similar rapid changes that were taking place in human society, technology, and thought.

Surrealism is often classified as a form of Modern Art. However, the Surrealists themselves have objected to the study of surrealism as an era in art history, claiming that it oversimplifies the complexity of the movement (which they say is not an artistic movement), misrepresents the relationship of surrealism to aesthetics, and falsely characterizes ongoing surrealism as a finished, historically encapsulated era.

Other forms of Modern art (some of which border on Contemporary art) include:


Time Period: First half of the 20th century

[edit] Contemporary art and Postmodern art

Main articles: Contemporary art and Postmodern art

Recent developments in art have been characterised by a significant expansion of what can now deemed to be art, in terms of materials, media, activity and concept. Conceptual art in particular has had a wide influence. This started literally as the replacement of concept for a made object, one of the intentions of which was to refute the commodification of art. However, it now usually refers to an artwork where there is an object, but the main claim for the work is made for the thought process that has informed it. The aspect of commercialism has returned to the work.

There has also been an increase in art referring to previous movements and artists, and gaining validity from that reference.

Postmodernism in art, which has grown since the 1960s, differs from Modernism in as much as Modern art movements were primarily focused on their own activities and values, while Postmodernism uses the whole range of previous movements as a reference point. This has by definition generated a relativistic outlook, accompanied by irony and a certain disbelief in values, as each can be seen to be replaced by another. Another result of this has been the growth of commercialism and celebrity.

Some surrealists in particular Joan Miró, who called for the "murder of painting" (In numerous interviews dating from the 1930s onwards, Miró expressed contempt for conventional painting methods and his desire to "kill", "murder", or "rape" them in favor of more contemporary means of expression).[4] have denounced or attempted to "supersede" painting, and there have also been other anti-painting trends among artistic movements, such as that of Dada and conceptual art. The trend away from painting in the late 20th century has been countered by various movements, for example the continuation of Lyrical Abstraction, Pop Art, Op Art, New Realism, Neo-Geo, Neo-expressionism, and Stuckism and various other important and influential painterly directions.

Visual arts of the United States

Visual arts of the United States refers to the history of painting and visual art in the United States. In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, artists primarily painted landscapes and portraits in a realistic style. A parallel development taking shape in rural America was the American craft movement, which began as a reaction to the industrial revolution. Developments in modern art in Europe came to America from exhibitions in New York City such as the Armory Show in 1913. After World War II, New York replaced Paris as the center of the art world. Painting in the United States today covers a huge range of styles.

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Socialist realism

Socialist realism is a teleologically-oriented style of realistic art which has as its purpose the furtherance of the goals of socialism and communism. Although related, it should not be confused with social realism, a type of art that realistically depicts subjects of social concern.

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Culture of Papua New Guinea

The culture of Papua New Guinea (PNG) is many-sided and complex. It is estimated that more than 1000 different cultural groups exist in PNG, and most groups have their own language. Because of this diversity, in which they take pride, many different styles of cultural expression have emerged; each group has created its own expressive forms in art, dance, weaponry, costumes, singing, music, architecture and much more.

To unify the nation, the language Tok Pisin, once called Neo-Melanesian (or Pidgin English) has evolved as the lingua franca — the medium through which diverse language groups are able to communicate with one another in Parliament, in the news media, and elsewhere.

People typically live in villages or dispersed hamlets which rely on the subsistence farming of sweet potatoes and taro. The principal livestock in traditional PNG is the oceanic pig (Sus papuiensis). To balance the diet, people of PNG hunt, collect wild plants, or fish — depending on the local environment and mode of subsistence. Those who become skilled at farming, hunting, or fishing — and are generous — earn a great deal of respect in Papua New Guinea.

Traditional cultures

On the Sepik River, there is a world-renowned tradition of wood carving. These carvers create forms of plants or animals, because they believe these are their ancestor beings and because they feel they are beautiful. They also create traditional skull portraits.

Even though sea shells are no longer the currency of Papua New Guinea - sea shells were abolished as currency in 1933 - this heritage is still present in local customs. In certain parts of the country a groom must bring a bride price to the wedding ceremony. In some cases this is paid in golden-edged clam shells [1]. In other areas, a dowry is payable rather than bride price. These payments may take the form of shell money, food, pigs, cash, or other goods.

In some parts of the New Guinea highlands, people engage in colorful local rituals that are called "sing-sings". They paint themselves and dress up with feathers, pearls and animal skins to represent birds, trees or mountain spirits. Sometimes an important event, such as a legendary battle, would be enacted at such a musical festival.


[edit] Music

[edit] Traditional music

Christian missionaries disapproved of Papuan folk music throughout the colonial period of the country's history. Even after independence, the outside world knew little of the diverse peoples' traditional music genres. The first commercial release to see an international audience didn't occur until 1991 (see 1991 in music), when Mickey Hart's Voices of the Rainforest was released.

After 1872, foreigners introduced Christian hymns, including Gregorian chanting. Peroveta anedia, ute and taibubu, all forms of Polynesian music, were also introduced in this period. The Gold Rush brought an influx of Australian miners who brought with them the mouth organ.

Traditional celebrations, which include song, dance, feasting and gift-giving, are called singsing. Vibrant and colorful costumes adorn the dancers, while a leader and a chorus sing a staggered approach to the same song, producing a fugue-like effect. 1993 saw television spreading across the country, and American popular music continued to affect Papuan music given the diffusion of radio since WWII. Since 1953, singsings have become competitive in nature, with contests occurring in Port Moresby, Mt. Hagen and Goroka. 1949 saw the first Papuan to achieve international fame, Blasius To Una, begin his career.

[edit] Popular music

Radio broadcasting of western popular music began by the late 1930s. String bands became very popular by the early 1950s, and soon dominated the pop landscape. In the late 1960s, rock bands like the Kopikats had appeared in cities, while string bands like the Paramana Strangers had become well-known internationally. This was followed by the importation of bamboo bands, a style of music from the Solomon Islands using bamboo tubes played by hitting them with sandals. It first arrived in the area of Madang in the mid-1970s, and soon spread throughout the country.

By the end of the '70s, a local recording industry had appeared and artists like Sanguma and, later, George Telek, began mixing native and Western styles like rock music and jazz.

[edit] Literature

Ulli Beier, a lecturer in English Literature at the University of Papua New Guinea since 1967 was crucial in encouraging young writers and getting their work published. From 1969 to 1974 he was the editor of Kovave, a journal of New Guinea literature. He also published Papua Pocket Poets, and Pidgin Pocket Plays. Kovave ceased publication in 1974 but was replaced by the journal New Guinea Writing although this concentrated on folk tales.

Natachee was the first Papuan poet to appear in print. The first autobiography was Albert Maori Kiki's Kiki in 1974. The first novel was Crocodile (1970) by Vincent Eri.

[edit] Visual Arts

A Papua New Guinean wooden sculpture. Stanford University New Guinea sculpture garden.
A Papua New Guinean wooden sculpture. Stanford University New Guinea sculpture garden.

There is a rich and diverse tradition of visual art. In particular, Papua New Guinea is world-famous for carved wooden sculpture: masks, canoes, story-boards. Many of the best collections of these are held in overseas museums.

Those identified as being in the first wave of contemporary art in Papua New Guinea are: Mathias Kauage OBE (1944-2003[1]), Akis, Jakupa and Nalo, all from the tough urban area of Port Moresby. Kauage won Australia's Blake Prize for religious art, four of his works are in the Glasgow Museum of Modern Art, and he had a solo show in 2005 at the Horniman Museum, "Kauage's Visions: Art from Papua New Guinea".

[edit] Sport

See main Sport in Papua New Guinea

Sports are hugely popular in Papua New Guinea and its citizens participate in and watch a wide variety. Popular sports include most forms of football (rugby league, Rugby Union, Soccer and Australian rules football), cricket, volleyball, softball, netball and basketball. Other Olympic sports are also gaining popularity including boxing and weightlifting.

Rugby league is the most popular sport in Papua New Guinea (especially in the highlands) which also unofficially holds the title as the "national sport". The annual Australian State of Origin matches are the most watched sporting event of the year. The West New Britain Rugby League player, Marcus Bai, is a national celebrity after he played for the National Rugby League with Melbourne Storm (he is currently playing in the Super League competition in England). A new national competition started in 2005 called the SP Cup. See article Rugby league in Papua New Guinea.

Australian Rules Football, once the most popular football in PNG until the 1970s, is gaining popularity with the introduction of players at the top level into the AFL, including Mal Michael (Brisbane Lions) and James Gwilt (St Kilda Football Club). PNG has the largest number of Australian Rules Footballers outside of Australia, and has one of the fastest growing junior development programs. The "Mosquitos", currently captained by Navu Maha are the national team and were runners up in the Australian Football International Cup in both 2003 (to Ireland) and 2005 (to New Zealand). See article Australian rules football in Papua New Guinea.

Cricket is traditionally popular in the Papuan provinces where the British had the most influence. In the Trobriand Islands cricket has become fused with the local culture and a game played with stones instead of a rock and unlimited fielders has developed. It was introduced in 1903 by Methodist missionaries, and has become a beloved sport there.

Latin American art

Latin American Art has its origins in the many different indigenous cultures that inhabited the continent before the Spanish invasion in the XVIth Century. Each culture developed sophisticated artistic criteria, which in most cases was strongly linked with religious conceptions. As such, most works of art such as Mayan pyramids, Zapotec Jewelry or Inca architecture, just to mention a few, are always an expression of the culture and the religion.

During the Colonial Period, the mixture of Indigenous traditions and European influences (mainly due to the Christian teachings of Franciscan, Augustinian and Dominican Friars) produced a very particular Christian art known as Arte Indocristiano. Beyond the tradition of indigenous art, the development of Latin American visual art owed much to the influence of Spanish, Portuguese and French Baroque painting, which in turn often followed the trends of the Italian Masters. In general, this artistic Eurocentrism began to fade in the early twentieth century, as Latin-Americans began to acknowledge the uniqueness of their condition and started to follow their own path.

From the early twentieth century, the art of Latin America was greatly inspired by the Constructivist Movement. The Constructivist Movement was founded in Russia around 1913 by Vladimir Tatlin. The Movement quickly spread from Russia to Europe and then into Latin America. Joaquin Torres Garcia and Manuel Rendón have been credited with bringing the Constructivist Movement into Latin America from Europe.

An important artistic movement generated in Latin America is Muralismo represented by Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, José Clemente Orozco and Rufino Tamayo in Mexico along with Pedro Nel Gómez and Santiago Martinez Delgado in Colombia. Some of the most impressive Muralista works can be found in Mexico, Colombia, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia.

Mexican painter Frida Kahlo may be the best known Latin American artist. She painted about her own life and the Mexican culture in a style combining Realism, Symbolism and Surrealism. Kahlo's work commands the highest selling price of all Latin American paintings

Maya art

Maya art is considered by many to be the most sophisticated and beautiful of the ancient New World. The distinct style of Maya art that developed during the Preclassic period (1500 B.C. to 250 A.D.) has influences from the Olmec civilization. Other Mesoamerican civilizations, including Teotihuacan and the Toltecs, affected Maya art, which reached its zenith during the civilization's Classic period (c. 200 to 900 AD). The Maya are well known for their use of jade, obsidian and stucco.

Character and style

Jadeite Pectoral from the Mayan Classic period. (195mm high)
Jadeite Pectoral from the Mayan Classic period. (195mm high)

Many pieces of Maya art are spiritual in nature, designed to appease or curry the favor of the gods. Most Maya art that survives today is in the form of funerary and ritual objects. The Maya did not have metal tools or potter's wheels, however they managed to create highly detailed and beautiful pieces of art. Most Maya art depicts gods, great rulers, legendary heroes, religious scenes and, occasionally, daily life. The focus of Maya art pieces is on human figures (whether gods or mortals). Animals and stylized designs were used as decoration on pottery and other objects. The Maya script, which could be considered an art form itself, is featured on most statues and carvings.

[edit] Art forms

Maya art takes many forms, from tiny pieces of carved obsidian to gigantic pyramids and stelae. The dominance of the Maya religion can be seen through all of these art forms; most objects have a spiritual or religious purpose.

[edit] Architecture

Main article: Maya architecture
A Maya temple at Tikal
A Maya temple at Tikal

As unique and spectacular as any Greek or Roman architecture, Maya architecture spans many thousands of years; yet, often the most dramatic and easily recognizable as Maya are the fantastic stepped pyramids from the terminal pre-classic period and beyond. These pyramids relied on intricate carved stone in order to create a stair-step design. Each pyramid was dedicated to a deity whose shrine sat at its peak. During this "height" of Maya culture, the centers of their religious, commercial and bureaucratic power grew into incredible cities, including Chichen Itza, Tikal, and Uxmal. Through observation of the numerous consistent elements and stylistic distinctions, remnants of Maya architecture have become an important key to understanding the evolution of their ancient civilization.

[edit] Ceramics

Main article: Maya ceramics
Maya vase of the codex style, representing a lord of the underworld stripped of his clothes and headgear by the young Maize divinity, assisted by a midget and a hunchback. Terracotta, northern Petén (Guatemala), 7th-10th century.
Maya vase of the codex style, representing a lord of the underworld stripped of his clothes and headgear by the young Maize divinity, assisted by a midget and a hunchback. Terracotta, northern Petén (Guatemala), 7th-10th century.

Many examples of Maya pottery survive today. Along with clay vessels, the Maya created many earthenware figures of humans and animals. Several examples of the Teotihuacan fresco technique of applying paint to a wet clay surface have been found at Maya sites, showing the influence that civilization had on Maya art. Most pieces of pottery were decorated with images of humans, animals , or mythological creatures. Many highly detailed clay figurines were made by the Maya, portraying humans and gods. These were made with molds and by hand. Many of these figures were buried with rulers, which is how they survived to the current day.

[edit] Codices

Main article: Maya codices
The Dresden Codex
The Dresden Codex

The Maya wrote many books, called codices (singluar codex), which described their calendar and religious system. Tragically, when the Spanish conquered the area, Diego de Landa ordered that they should all be destroyed. De Landa wrote:

  • We found a large number of books in these characters and, as they contained nothing in which were not to be seen as superstition and lies of the devil, we burned them all, which they (the Maya) regretted to an amazing degree, and which caused them much affliction.

However, not all of them were destroyed, and three codices and a fragment of a fourth survive. These codices detail which gods are responsible for which days of the year, horoscopes and astrological tables and other religious matters. The codices, which were lavishly illustrated, provide an integral view into Maya society.

[edit] Sculpture

Yaxchilan Lintel 24, depicting a bloodletting  ritual.
Yaxchilan Lintel 24, depicting a bloodletting ritual.

The Maya created a great number of sculptures, many of which can be seen at Maya sites and museums. A common form of Maya sculpture was the stela. These were large stone slabs covered with carvings. Many depict the rulers of the cities they were located in, and others show gods. The stelae almost always contained hieroglyphs, which have been critical to determining the significance and history of Maya sites. Other stone carvings include figurines, similar to the earthenware ones described earlier, and stone lintels which show scenes of blood sacrifice. The Maya used a great deal of jade in their art. Many stone carvings had jade inlays, and there were also ritual objects created from jade. It is remarkable that the Maya, who had no metal tools, created such intricate and beautiful objects from jade, a very hard and dense material. An excellent example is the death mask of Pacal the Great, ruler of Palenque. A life-size mask created for his corpse had "skin" made from jade and "eyes" made from mother-of-pearl and obsidian. Another feature where the wooden lintels, the best examples are from Tikal and El Zotz, in Peten, Guatemala

[edit] Paintings

The Bonampak paintings
The Bonampak paintings

Due to the humid climate of Central America few Maya paintings have survived to the present day. But a beautiful turquoise blue colour has survived through the centuries due to its unique chemical characteristics, the colour is called Maya Blue (Azul Maya), and it is present in Bonampak, El Tajín Cacaxtla, Jaina, and even in some Colonial Convents, this is one of the best examples of Arte Indocristiano; the combination of European and Indian (that is American Indians) Techniques and beliefs. The use of Maya Blue survived until the 16th century when the technique was lost. Some murals have been discovered at Bonampak. The paintings at Bonampak were preserved when a layer of calcium carbonate covered the paintings, preventing moisture from destroying them. The murals, which date from 790, show scenes of nobility, battle, and sacrifice. At San Bartolo, murals were discovered in 2001. These paintings date from 100 CE, and are some of the oldest and finest Maya paintings discovered. These paintings, which depict the Corn god myth, made scholars realize that the myth was older than previously believed. The art in caves such as Naj Tunich, has yield some exmples of fine painting and has increased the popularity of the Maya caves art among the archaeologist since its discovery 20 years ago.

[edit] Maya script

An example of Maya script
An example of Maya script
Main article: Maya script

The Maya writing system, sometimes called hieroglyphs or glyphs, consists of logograms accompanied by syllabaric glyphs. The glyphs themselves are highly detailed and artistic. The Maya script was in use from 3rd century BCE until the Spanish conquest in the 16th century. The Maya script was used for the Ch'ol and Yucatec languages. The Maya script was slowly deciphered during the 20th century, and a major breakthrough was made by Yuri Knorosov in the 1950s. Today, about three-quarters of the Maya script is understood. Maya script plays an important role in art by identifying characters and helping scholars to understand more of Maya society.