Spirits in the Material World


Hour 1–3 — Review

Sunday / 5:47 / My room

This week reading was definitely very interesting because of the influences of art and history within the discussion of Leadership. Art and images are important symbols of the times in which they are made and are lasting throughout hundreds of years to give us readers and observers authentic depictions of the leadership of the time in antiquity. We see that your leadership can be immortalized whether for good or bad. “Spirits in the Material World” showcases the immortality of leadership and shows how your decisions and actions have have permanent impacts in history. According to ancient historian Tonio Holscher, Roman art was a form a language in pictures. And as such we viewers could analyse these images much like texts. A perfect example was Trajan’s Column which was said that “it could be read as a scroll” because the the events that it depicts is in chronological order. Leaving Antiquity , we can see that art e.g. Caricatures are still used to depict the political views and the views of the people for candidates. These images also told stories and had a vast depth in the messages that they were trying to convey. The social impact of these images however remains the same whether in the modern world or in antiquity. These statues or images serve to frame the leaders accomplishments and reward the the leaders legacy. A difference however may be that leaders in antiquity had the ability to create these images for themselves. However in the modern world, these images were harder to earn and usually came after the death of the leader.

Unlike Antiquity, immortalized images in modern society reflect negatives situation more than positive. Additional features of modern images focused less on facts of actual events and tried


Hour 4–7 — Review

Monday / 4:11 / COAS Honors Lounge

Completing my own iconological study!

Part 1. Identify where Leadership exits.

I believe that leadership exists naturally in every single human interaction. Whether it be deciding where to go eat with your friends or family or spouse. Or even influencing classmates to start a groupme to assist in a class that has lot of content to understand. Leadership exists where influence meets power and that can happen anywhere in life. On a macro level, the more power someone attains the larger their sphere of influence and thus the more formalized their authority becomes. At the point where authority is formalized it can become reflected in the material culture. Living in Washington D.C. we can see how great leaders have had their leadership immortalized and created into monuments that serve to reflect the impact of that leader in the nation. Monuments like the Lincoln Memorial and the MLK statute serve immortalize the achievements of these leaders.

Part 2.

what kind of leadership do your examples display? Individual leadership? Community leadership? If your examples communicate power, what kind of power? How is power legitimized? How do you think the display of leadership — i.e., the construction of the physical objects — and power are related?

The examples that i have stated above displayed leadership that was over entire communities. Literally thousands of people. The Lincoln Memorial is an American national monument built to honor the 16th President of the United States.It has always been a major tourist attraction and since the 1930's has been a symbolic center focused on race relations.
The building is in the form of a Greek Doric temple and contains a large seated sculpture of Abraham Lincoln and inscriptions of two well-known speeches by Lincoln, “The Gettysburg Address” and his Second Inaugural Address.

Both images showcase the leaders as strong, stern men by their emotional expression. The act of engraving or carving them into stone serves to immortalize their legacy. The Lincoln memorial is very similar to the types of Statues that you would see in antiquity for great leaders. MLK’s arms are crossed which would symbolize his unflinching or unmoving spirit by which he lived.


Hour 7–9 — Review of Artwork

Tuesday / 10:00 / My Room

How is the composition arranged? Who goes where and who is doing what? Can you tell which figure is Alex the Great, and which one is Darius? How does the artist convey who is the victor in this struggle and who is the defeated party?

The above picture depicts the defeat of Darius III by Alexander the Great at the Battle of Issus in 333 BCE. It was made around 100 BCE by an unknown artist and found in the House of the Faun in Pompeii. This mosaic serves to immortalize the acts of Alexander the Great. He conquered all of Persia, Egypt, and much of Central Asia — all before the age of 32. Darius III was King of Persia in the 4th c. BCE.

Im finding it very difficult to figure out who is Alexander the Great and who is Darius. My guess would be that the darker figure on the left is Darius because of him being from Persia. And Alexander the Great is the lighter guy on the right.

Guy on the Left
Guy on the right

The Romans, inherited a rich tradition of representing their monarchs with grandiose statues from the Hellenistic rulers they conquered and then governed. The above statue is a depiction of Augustus of Prima Porta.

My interpretation of this statute is that it shows Augustus pointing in forward. His generals outfit with the child holding on the the trail of his dress seems to represent the willingness of people to follow him. His barefoot gives the impression that Augustus is humble.

The above statue is called the Ara Pacis also called Alter of Peace. It was consecrated in 9 BCE and is an excellent example of the Roman use of iconography to promote an elaborate vision of the leadership of an individual and of a people.

The above picture depicts Trajan who was lived from 53–117 CE and ruled from 98 CE until his death. He is credited for conquering so much of Europe that the Roman Empire reached its largest extent.

The above statue represents Augustus, Pontifex Maximus, Via Labianca who was the high priest of the college of pontiffs in ancient Rome. This was the most important position in the ancient Roman religion.


Hour 9–11 — Comparison

Tuesday / 10:00 / My Room

Vocab List

Iconography: pictorial material relating to or illustrating a subject; 2) the traditional or conventional images or symbols associated with a subject and especially a religious or legendary subject; 3) the imagery or symbolism of a work of art, an artist, or a body of art (Merriam-Webster)

Iconology: The study of visual imagery and its symbolism and interpretation, esp. in social or political terms

Mosaic: Art made entirely out of small colored stones, or tesserae

Tesserae: small block of stone, tile, glass or other material used in the construction of a mosaic

Material Culture: The material remains of a past society, including artifacts (man made) and ecofacts (biological). Examples from the ancient world include architecture, pottery, sculpture, grave monuments, temples, coins, wall paintings, mosaics, and more.

Bildsprache — German meaning imagery, picture language, metaphorical language