Early Dynastic II Votive Statue of Eannatum, Prince of Lagash
Art History Visual Analysis Paper #1
The Menil Collection, Houston TX
Early Dynastic II Votive Statue of Eannatum, Prince of Lagash 2450 BCE
Made of Alabaster, lapis lazuli, mother of pearl inlays. Free standing sculpture.
Approx. 12” tall, 5” across, and 5” deep.
See on 12 Feb 2015
Prayers for the faithful
In examining this votive figure, its level of detail and rich symbolic meaning communicates the desire of Eannatum to have his prayers heard by the gods and win their favor. In presenting the observations made, it becomes apparent to the reader that Eannatum wanted this statue to serve as a giver of continues prayers for its master, and as a fitting example of the man that commissioned its creation.
When first entering the hall where the statue is located, it is noted that the statue, which is sculpted in the round, is housed in a simple glass box to protect it from being touched or from any dust. This allows the viewer to see it from many different angles that help in communicating its message. When you walk up to it, one of the first things you notice is the eyes. The eyes are inlayed with mother of pearl, and are the only part of the statue that is thus inlayed. This gives the eyes a shine that changes with the angle. The eyes themselves are large for the face, taking up most of the facial area, and are carved in an “eyes wide opened” look, where no eyelids are to be visible. The pupils are solid lapis lazuli, which gives it a bright blue color, and are equally exaggerated, as were the eyes. The whole of each eye is encircled about with inlayed bitumen. (This was learned from researching, by reading “Otive Statue of Eannatum, Prince of Lagash (2600-2340 BC)” , and was not on the Menil Collection wall label.)
Arched eyebrows, also of inlayed bitumen, further accent the eyes. It appears that the bitumen is a modern addition to the statue, but as it...