Week 4: Jackie Hirai


I was drawn to the late fifth century of Greek work. On June 323 BC, Alexander the Great died and the Greek society was going through some change. The empire starts to fall a part due to the lack of direction they had after their leader passed away. Alexander’s work of being Greece to Rome begins to disappear after he died. Art became more dynamic and not as idealistic. Hellenistic Style (323-31 BC) became more about the individual. They start to depict normal people doing normal people activities compared to the heroic figures seen in the previous eras of art. There is some artwork that consists of gods or heroes, but they are more expressive. They tried to add more emotion into their art. For example, during this time sculptures had greater amounts of expression in their facial expressions and positioning. I think one of the reasons why I like the Hellenistic style is because of how its soft, naturalistic depictions of people compared to the Archaic and Classical Style. I enjoy how the Hellenistic Style is more focused on the idea of everyday life. I feel like it makes it more relatable and easier to connect with. The amount of emotion and movement in the pieces creates more interest and excitement.

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The piece I found on the MET’s timeline is a terracotta vase. It is from the Hellenistic period around 3rd-2ndcentury BC. On the vase it has four women painted on it. The scene is thought to be a bride with her servants. Usually Greek ceramics were made to be used and a certain purpose. The description of the artwork on the MET explained that this vase is unique. The vase’s lid is attached to the top of the it, which means was used for symbolic purposes only. It is thought to be related to a place in Centuripe in Sicily. The detail was created by using techniques like polychromy. It was possibly created to be placed in a tomb. The reason I picked this piece is because I love how detailed this vase is and the scene that it is portraying.

I had the privilege of visiting the Pantheon in person on my junior’s abroad trip. It was much larger than I expected like most places we saw. Pantheon is a place where ancient Romans would worship their gods. Patheon translated means, “to every God.” The amount of detail was incredible. The most obvious feature is the hole in the ceiling, which is thought to bring the Roman people closer to the Gods they worshipped. There are drains placed under the hole for when it rains. The building is one of the oldest in Rome and is a burial place for people like Raphael. The other places we have studied about including the Stonehenge, ziggurats, and the Pyramids all address the spiritual needs of their builders. The Stonehenge was a burial site. It was a place to respect the dead and represent the unknown of what happens after death by arranging the stones based on the sun/moon. The Ziggurat of Ur was built to worship Nanna, the moon goddess. They created a drainage system for winter rain called Ur to escape, which is similar to how the Pantheon operated. The pyramids acted as a burial place as well. They would house the bodies of the rich. The architecture of these places all represent the spiritual intentions of their builders. They differ in the way they are structured and a little in what they were used for. They have some similarities, such as with being connected to a certain person or people. They were all built in respect and dedication for specific people or gods. We have similar sites like this in our current world. There are many statues created in remembrance of influential people like Martin Luther King Jr. and multiple presidents. The idea that these places all have in common is that they act as signs of respect for important individuals.

Below are some of my pictures from my visit at the Pantheon:



9 thoughts on “Week 4: Jackie Hirai”

  1. Jackie, I love the pictures from the Panthenon – it’s so cool that you got to visit it on your trip! How big were the drains that was underneath the hole in the ceiling? I also really like the Hellenistic style and how it is more naturalistic. I also really like the incorporation of emotion into the art pieces. I think that the expressions depicted really provide a story to the audience rather than a normal portrait of someone.

    I really like the vase that you looked at. I like the pastel warm colors that show a story of happiness. I also love the extra flair above and below the body. The extra details on the foot makes it look like the vase is a blooming flower.


  2. Thank you! It was one of the first sites we got to visit and I am so grateful we had time to see it. The drains were not that big. They were in a circle underneath the hole in the ceiling. I didn’t get a picture of it, but I remember them not being that large. I love all the details on the vase too. I agree that they make the vase almost look like a flower that is blooming!


  3. Awesome post! I always think its really cool when people have first-hand experiences with the things we are talking about in class. I visited Rome a couple years ago and also saw the Pantheon. We actually stayed in an apartment close to it, so I could just barely see the huge pillars out of our window! Do you think the Ziggurat of Ur inspired the Pantheon drainage system, or it was just a clever coincidence? It’s amazing how much precision was used to create structures like the Pantheon. Did you get to see other famous places in Rome? The Sistine Chapel was something I’ll never forget.


    1. Thanks! Me too. I love hearing from everyone about all the places they have been and experiences they have had. Wow! The hotel you stayed out sounds amazing! I think that there is a possibility of the Pantheon’s drainage system being inspired by the Ziggurat of Ur, but I guess we will never know for sure. I think I am leaning towards it being more of a clever coincidence, but I’m not sure. We went to the Sistine Chapel too, which was I agree unforgettable. Other places we went were the Colosseum, St. Peter’s Basilica and the Trevi Fountain.


  4. Great post, Jackie! The Pantheon is incredible and your pictures are truly stunning. I also appreciate how this period was for the common people as well as the leaders. You are spot on when you say that it is more relatable. It really adds to what everyday life would have been in Ancient Greece. Do you think there are any parallels to American culture and everyday life? Maybe magazines or other photos? I really enjoyed how you talked about your own personal experiences from Junior’s Abroad.


    1. Thank you! I think there are parallels to American culture and everyday life. I think that magazines and photographs are good examples of this idea. They are able to show how people live on a daily basis. Thanks!


  5. That’s so cool you have such a direct connection to the Pantheon! I ‘ve enver visited a space of worship for people who worship someone other than God. What is that like? Does it still feel sacred or set apart? Does it feel disrespectful if it’s not what you worship and you enter in? Or is it completely different because it’s now seen as mythology?


    1. It was crazy to think that people during Ancient times came to this place to worship their gods. It was interesting because even though it used to be a place where people would worship someone other than God, they have now turned the Pantheon into a church, so I did not really feel a difference. Seeing the statues around the building made me realize that it wasn’t just a place to worship God, but other than that I did not really see/feel a difference. I do think that it does not feel as sacred as it probably did in the past.


  6. Really good post! I think you were spot on when describing the differences between the classical and hellenistic periods. Works from the hellenistic period just seem to show so much more emotion than those from the classical period. It really takes naturalism a step further that it had ever been before, and gives the sculptures and paintings a feeling of softness and accessibility.


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