Assyria: Palace Art of Ancient Iraq Video Suite

Assyria: Palace Art of Ancient Iraq Video Suite

In 2019 Getty launched the initiative Ancient Worlds Now: A Future for the Past, in part to highlight the interwoven histories of ancient worlds. A series of exhibitions focusing on the art of ancient civilizations was planned, including Assyria: Palace Art of Ancient Iraq. In 2020, three videos related to the exhibition’s themes took shape to meet different audience segments: the art enthusiast, the culturally-curious, and kids and families. The aim behind each was to create meaningful connections for contemporary audiences who might otherwise feel very removed from a long-ago culture.

 

Assyrian kings in the ninth to seventh centuries BC decorated their palaces with masterful relief sculptures that represent a high point of Mesopotamian art, both for their artistic quality and sophistication and for their vivid depictions of warfare, rituals, mythology, hunting, and other aspects of Assyrian court life. The power and propaganda of these intimidating reliefs included fierce messages about the invincibility of the kings, the unrelenting support from the gods, and the military might that secured Assyria’s conquest of an ever-expanding empire.

Assyria: Power and Propaganda

The video intended for an art enthusiast audience, Assyria: Power and Propaganda,  links an exploration of the themes running through the Assyrian reliefs to relevant contemporary impulses. Those in power generally produce visual imagery that broadcasts their strength. This angle arms viewers with tools to both appreciate ancient Assyria and compare this legacy with practices that persist today.

 

 

Getty x Ganzeer x Logan—Bridging the Past

Getty x Ganzeer x Logan—Bridging the Past is intended for “culturally-curious” audiences who welcome artist commentary. Ganzeer, an Egyptian-born artist, breaks down the intensity of Assyrian palace art imagery while explaining his own use of images to subvert regimes of power. This perspective examines how graphic images can be used to retain control over people or undermine it. With a compelling pace, the video allows audiences hip to unexpected artistic comparisons a chance to get into the thick of how strong imagery can be a double-edged sword.

 

2-Minute Time Machine—Beards

With 2-Minute Time Machine—Beards, we realized a unique way to engage a younger K-12 audience, delving into the dress code (even the hair code) of those who reign, in order to teach an aspect of history. From the vantage of facial hairspecifically, the practice of growing beards as a statement of powerthe video employs a topic that is both familiar and entertaining.

 

 

Each video draws specific audience segments in with colorful animation and striking visuals coupled with a buoyant tone. The videos are available on the Getty Museum’s YouTube (as well the exhibition’s website) to reach a broad, global population of viewers. Instead of trying to be encyclopedic, each video spotlights an element of Assyrian culture that welcomes viewers across the spectrum.

Assyria: Power and Propaganda

https://youtu.be/sWP4V562cnc

Getty x Ganzeer X Logan—Bridging the Past

https://youtu.be/DdytoPuNCJE

2-Minute Time Machine—Beards

https://youtu.be/c83IqraWlC4