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Art History

An Astonishingly Small Stone Carving That Has the Power to Change Art History

November 10, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

The Pylos Combat Agate, an intricately carved 3,500-year-old sealstone discovered in a the tomb of a Greek warrior. All images courtesy of The Department of Classics, University of Cincinnati

More than two years ago researchers from the University of Cincinnati unearthed a 3,500-year-old tomb in the southwest of Greece. The tomb belonged to a Bronze Age warrior nicknamed the “Griffin Warrior,” and contained many treasures, such as four gold signet rings, that have challenged previous notions about the origins of Greek civilization.

Perhaps one of the most important and visually captivating finds from the tomb occurred a full year after its discovery. Researchers uncovered a carved sealstone no larger than an inch and a half wide. The “Pylos Combat Agate” meticulously displays two warriors engaged in battle with bodies strewn at their feet, with some details less than a millimeter wide. The carving is perhaps most astonishing because it predates artistic skills that were not associated with Greek civilization for another millennium.

“What is fascinating is that the representation of the human body is at a level of detail and musculature that one doesn’t find again until the classical period of Greek art 1,000 years later,” said Jack Davis, Carl W. Blegen professor of Greek archaeology at the University of Cincinnati in UC Magazine. “It’s a spectacular find.”

In a testament to the anonymous artist’s skills, it’s also worthy to note that magnifying glasses were not believed to be used for another thousand years. This ability and sophistication shows that the inhabitants of the area were creating art with an interest and knowledge of representational art not previously imagined. This new discovery, explained Davis and fellow dig leader Shari Stocker, is a catalyst to completely reevaluate the timeline and development of Greek art.

You can read more about the miniature carving and the Griffin Warrior’s tomb in UC Magazine. (via Neatorama and The History Blog)

 

 



Art

Stones Carved to Appear Like Wrinkled Fabrics by José Manuel Castro López

December 13, 2016

Christopher Jobson

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Artist José Manuel Castro López works with rocks both large and small to transform hard surfaces into gentle fabric-like creases. Each sculpture begins as a regular piece of quartz or granite which he delicately grinds down to reveal peculiar wrinkled shapes, as if the rock had always existed this way. You can see many more of his recent works in this gallery.(via Ignant)

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Art

Unexpected Layers of Glass Added to Stones and Books by Ramon Todo

October 14, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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Born in Tokyo, Dusseldorf-based artist Ramon Todo creates beautiful textural juxtapositions using layers of glass in unexpected places. Starting with various stones, volcanic rock, fragments of the Berlin wall, and even books, the artist inserts perfectly cut glass fragments that seem to slice through the object resulting in segments of translucence where you would least expect it. You can see more of his work over on Art Front Gallery, and here. (via My Amp Goes to 11)

 

 



Art

Incredible Slate Sculptures by Stephen Kettle

August 31, 2011

Christopher Jobson

UK sculptor Stephen Kettle works primarily with thin pieces of stone slate, using the material to build figures, busts, animals, and other objects. His most famous piece is a sculpture of Alan Turing (first four images) on display at Bletchy Park in Britain. The piece took 18 months to build and weighs 3,000 pounds (1.5 tons). (images via nolan huzenga, ken dougals, davkav, and the artist)