On our list for the time after Covid-19: an Assyrian alabaster relief in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) in New York City

An Assyrian relief panel of a supernatural figure.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City offers a unique approach to its exhibitions: under the motto “creative challenges“ virtual visitors are invited to attend videos where special art techniques a presented. “How to create depth and texture with contour lines“ is the topic in the video we selected: “Discover how lines and other forms of mark making create depth and texture in an Assyrian relief panel of a supernatural figure. Check out the inspiration image above, grab a pencil and paper, and get started whenever you’re ready,“ is how visual artist Jessica Halston invites guests to her 31 minutes video.

The object discussed is a relief panel from the Neo-Assyrian period (ca. 883–859 B.C.). The material is gypsum alabaster (93 x 70 x 4 1/4 in., 236.2 x 177.8 x 10.8 cm).

The relief is described as follows: “This panel from the Northwest Palace at Nimrud (ancient Kalhu) depicts a winged supernatural figure. Such figures appear throughout the palace, sometimes flanking either the figure of the Assyrian king or a stylized ‘sacred tree.‘ The reliefs were painted, but today almost none of the original pigment survives. However, the reliefs themselves retain incredible detail, including intricate incised designs on many of the figures’ clothing.“ More on the MET webpage.


Assyrian relief panel

(04.03.2021, USA: 03.04.2021)