Sample Art Paper on Stylization in Mesopotamian Art

Stylization in art can be described as the act of generalizing figures and objects that make up a composition using convention elements and principles of design such as line, color, form and space among others. Stylization was coined to allow artists to divert from realism. Therefore, it provided an opportunity for artists to create images and artworks that were easily recognizable by the audience because of the ability of the style to emphasize on the basic design elements of color and lines to promote the emotive characteristics of an artwork. Historically, the style was used in ancient composition of art such as cave paintings, because of the need to present objects in recognizable manner. Besides, artists had few objects and tools to aid art composition and so they went for bold elements such as line that were universally recognized. For that matter, the audiences could easy draw boundaries between different objects within a composition. At the time, humanity were discovering the significance of visual art in communicating myriad themes and they realized that certain elements could be used to mimic reality in regards to drawings, paintings, and sculpture.

Stylization was used in the composition of Cylinder Seal: Seated Figure Approached by a Goddess Leading a Worshiper. The artwork was composed around ca. 2028–2004 B.C. on Hematite. Discovery of carved cylinders came in hand to enhance the developments of more advanced and sophisticated seal designs. These seals were first used in Mesopotamia to act as a mark of possession or recognition. Seals were considerably used to close water jars, doors and baskets that contained engraved messages and information about commercial transactions. In this masterpiece, stylization has been used to create a modern impression to uniquely make the composition more recognizable. The composition depicts a clean-shaved figure of a worshipper wearing a long fringed robe while holding the hand of the seal owner near the mouth (MET n.p).  This is necessitated through the use of lines that distinctly depict the various part of the body and gives the robe its identity. The inscriptions in the composition also uniquely identify the seal owner. The worshipper is being led by a goddess depicted to be wearing a stomping robe that overlaps over her left shoulder, and a cap that is seen to have four pair of horns (MET n.p). The goddess gently holds the hand of the worshipper and presents him to an identifiable king for divine intervention. The king also wears robes that are draped over the shoulders and adorns a brimmed cap. Also, seated on a decorated stool, the king holds a cup that balances on his pursed fingertips. Consequently, a star disk can be seen suspended within a crescent moon and occupying the upper space in front of the king (MET n.p). The seals underwent considerable level of standardization in regards to their iconography and inscription techniques. For that, they were only restricted to people of high class, especially public officials and those who held administrative positions.

Mesopotamia art is one area where stylization style was dominant in terms of usage. However, it came to change especially considering how artists were more concerned with the composition of more realistic artworks. There was need to explore accurate depiction of architecture, human and natural plant life. Nevertheless, the style came in to force again in the 19th century when artists reconsidered its usage during experimentation with design elements, and as a tool that could be used to depict recognizable subjects of compositions, and also a platform to recognize the use of color, lines, and shapes. Stylization was preferred by many artists, especially of Mesopotamia art because artists needed no formal education from school to be involved in the composition of art. Based on the beliefs of many artists who loved this style, it was purely a celebration line and color making the style to frequent streets. In Mesopotamia, stylization was used to compose kings who appeared natural with little level of exaggerating their physical characteristics.



Work Cited

MET. Cylinder seal: seated figure approached by a goddess leading a worshiper. Metropolitan

Museum of Art, n.d. Available at: Retrieved May 20, 2018.



Cylinder Seal: Seated Figure Approached By a Goddess Leading a Worshiper.