A 4 page research paper that discusses the relationship between the arts (focusing principally on architecture) and political power. The writer argues that from the dawn of history, art has been the handmaiden of those who possessed political power. For an artist to function, he had to have a benefactor, that is, someone who had sufficient wealth to subsidize an artistic enterprise. Throughout early history, wealth of this magnitude was possessed only by the state. The writer draws examples from Egyptian, Roman and Christian history. Bibliography lists 3 sources.
Name of Research Paper File: D0_khartpol.rtf
Unformatted Sample Text from the Research Paper:
political power. For an artist to function, he had to have a benefactor, that is, someone who had sufficient wealth to subsidize an artistic enterprise. Throughout early history, wealth of
this magnitude was possessed only by the state. Those in power used art to accomplish specific tasks. First of all, art was frequently used to support a particular regime.
This was accomplished by glorifying the state and those in power. As the state, in ancient times, also based its legitimacy on religious precepts, art was also used to promote
the fortunes of the powerful in a presumed afterlife. These three associations between the arts and the politically powerful can be seen in the history of ancient Egypt, through the
Greco-Roman era, and into the history of early Christianity. The greatest artistic achievement of the Egyptians, the pyramids, provides a visible symbol of how that society was constructed. Egyptian
society was like a pyramid with the pharaoh at its apex (Fleming, 1974). As the descendent of the sun, the pharaoh was considered to be an absolute ruler, responsible only
to his gods and his ancestors (Fleming, 1974). Consider the social organization necessary to construct a monument such as the Pyramid of Khufu. Built from 2,300,000 blocks of stone, each
weighing over 2.5 tons, this structure covers over 13 acres and so carefully surveyed so accurately that it aligns perfectly with the "four corners of the world" (Fleming, 1974,
p. 5). The construction of this one architectural marvel was undoubtedly sufficient to maintain strict control over the populace during its construction. As this example suggests, the relationship between
art and political power is multi-faceted. While the stated purpose of pyramid construction was to ensure the afterlife of the pharaoh, this task also glorified the power of that office