Travel Through Time

Egyptian civilization was rich in magnificent works of art, but Egyptian coffins, such as the Coffin of Isis are particularly noteworthy since they mirror not only artistic traditions of ancient Egyptians, but also their philosophy and values. The Coffin of Isis was created in 6th-7th cc B.C. by an unknown artist (Tiradritti, 1999). The Coffin was created as a dwelling of a deceased person. At the same time, along with the direct purpose of the coffin, it had another purpose ”“ the artistic one. To put it more precisely, the Coffin of Isis was a piece of ancient Egyptian art. Obviously, its purpose had certain artistic value since the coffin represents the message of its creator to gods. To put it more precisely, in ancient Egypt, the death had a symbolic meaning. In fact, death marked the transition of humans into the afterworld and coffin was viewed as a vehicle by means of which the body of a deceased was moved to the afterworld. In such a context, the coffin’s purpose was sending a message to deities of the afterworld. This is why the decoration of the coffin had a symbolic meaning and it was a message of living Egyptians to deities of the afterworld. This message mainly contained the information about the deceased person and demonstrated the respect of living humans to deities.

Unlike other coffins created in the traditional style, the Coffin of Isis has diverse decorations and a variety of gods, depicted in the anthropoid form. In such a way, this piece of art closes the gap between humans and gods and between the real world and the afterworld.

However, such coffins were unusual for traditional ancient Egyptian art because Egyptians always attempted to show their respect to gods, while the use of anthropoid form marked the attempt of Egyptians to attribute certain divine characteristics to dead humans. At the same time, the depiction of gods on the coffin stressed the importance of religion in the life of ancient Egyptians. They respected their gods and believed in the afterlife as a part of the life. In addition, Egyptians believed that their life was regulated and ruled by gods. This is why the coffin depicts gods to show the sacred devotedness of the deceased to gods.  Hence, the Coffin of Isis mirrors the belief of Egyptians in the afterlife and the close relationships between humans and gods. Coffins were traditionally created by artisans and priests, who decorated coffins and conducted rituals essential for the funeral of Egyptians in accordance to their religious and cultural traditions.

Greek civilization is renowned for works of art, but many of them have a vague history. In this respect, “Iliad” by Homer is particularly noteworthy because this epic work was created in the time when literacy had not been developed yet. Even the authorship of Homer is uncertain, while some researchers believe that the name of the author is a metaphor (Williams, 2005). To put it more precisely, specialists (Williams, 2005) are uncertain that “Iliad” was created by Homer. Instead, it could be created by multiple authors and conveyed orally until the written Greek was developed. The “Iliad” shows the war between Greeks and the Troy, but the major purpose of this work was to show the power of Greeks in the ancient world, their cultural and military superiority. At the same time, “Iliad” uncovers complex social relationships within the Greek society, namely the relationships between kings and their subordinates, relationships between men and women in Greek society and so on. Moreover, “Iliad” is the epic work that reflects traditional beliefs and values of ancient Greek society, including the respect to gods, importance of warfare, traditions of ancient Greeks, their social and cultural life. In such a way, “Iliad” is an epic work which depicts the rise of Greek civilization and marks the consistent progress of ancient Greek culture, since “Iliad” marked a transition from oral traditions to written language and the creation of early epic works. In fact, “Iliad” was one of the major epic works which encouraged the emergence of ancient Greek literature and development of diverse genres as well as art at large. In fact, “Iliad” depicted the past of ancient Greek society with admiration and respect to old traditions, but, at the same time, this epic work showed that Greeks were descendents of great people who were supported by gods and whose power was gained in the heroic struggle of ancient Greek.

Therefore, “Iliad” glorified the past of ancient Greeks and promoted traditional Greek values. In this regard, “Iliad” is important for the modern civilization because modern people can get acquainted with ancient Greek civilization, which, by the way, influenced substantially the development of European and Western civilization and its influence is still significant in the modern world.

Mona Lisa is the famous painting by Leonardo Da Vinci. This work is one of the most popular works of the Renaissance period in Italy (Littlefield, 2006). The major purpose of this painting was to convey the female beauty as it was seen by the painter. At the same time, the painting has profound artistic implications because the image of Mona Lisa radiates mystery and enigma. At this point, it is important to stress the enigmatic smile of Mona Lisa, which actually makes this painting unique and different from other paintings. The style and technique of painting are unique and distinguish it from other works of art of this period. Many artists attempted to follow Da Vinci’s style, but no one could create the painting identical to that of Da Vinci, while the smile of Mona Lisa became a characteristic of his unique, original and genius style. At the same time, the painter depicted Mona Lisa as a symbol of female beauty in the Renaissance period. This painting was the result of the hard work of Leonardo Da Vinci and it was one of the major works created by the artist in his life. His work was an attempt to convey basic aesthetic values of his time. In fact, it was not just a female beauty that the painter wanted to convey to his audience, but the painter also attempted to show the ideal views on the beauty as an artistic value. In such a way, Da Vinci conveyed a consistent change in the cultural values and aesthetic tastes of the Renaissance period. To put it more precisely, the painting focuses attention on the female beauty, which was absolutely hostile to the Medieval epoch, when the emphasis on the beauty of humans was a sort of taboo. Instead, artists paid attention to religious themes, where the respect to God and fundamental Christian values were the primary concerns of Medieval artists. Da Vinci’s attention to female beauty marks the transition from the emphasis on religious themes to the emphasis on humans and routine life of people. In such a way, the painting was an important step toward the return of artists to values and aesthetic preferences of the ancient world, where humans was in the focus of attention of artists. Therefore, it is possible to speak about the impact of ancient art and civilization on the work created by Leonardo Da Vinci, who attempted to return to elements of ancient art. As a result, the painting of Leonardo Da Vinci created in the Renaissance period contributed to the emergence of the human-centered art.

Moreover, his painting encouraged artists to pay more attention to ancient art that led to the overall development of new art, which was focused on humans, human beauty and human life, while religious themes became secondary and steadily were replaced by themes which were important for people and mirrored their real life. Thus, Leonardo Do Vinci had managed to create the painting which influenced consistently the development of the Renaissance art and, what is more, it paved the way to the emergence of the Enlightenment.

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