All 3 items have their own representation to the people of their time. I found that the Minoan Snake Goddess and the Totem Pole both have common similarities as they both can interpret a strong spiritual meaning. With the Totem Pole, it’s comprised of an actual totem which can symbolize a spirit, tribe, family, or an individual. I find it interesting that the average person would think that when someone dies or they elect to create a Totem Pole remembering someone, that you actually pick the animal to place at the top of the pole, but theoretically the animal has already picked you based off a persons past and present. The animal itself acts as the main guardian spirit throughout their lives and after. Each animal can depict different characteristics or beliefs as well as far as the cultural considerations.
In contrast to the Totem Pole, the Minoan Snake Goddess also interprets a spiritual belief. The Minoan Snake Goddess is picture of a woman in power holding two snakes. Each serpent represents two different worlds; one the access to spiritual wisdom, and her ultimate power of transformation. She stands in between them to create a bridge of the two worlds in an attempt to bring them together. In the Minoan culture, women were predominately in charge since there was a lack in temples or places of worship. The Minoan Snake Goddess was found in c. 1600 BCE. As mentioned previously, the Snake Goddess to me, was in close comparison with the Totem Pole being that they both had a spiritual common theme.
The Giotto Crucifix of Santa Maria Novella has it’s own interpretation and definitely differs from the other two. This painting gives off a sense of suffrage and pain. The crucifix, which stands nineteen feet high, depicts Christ’s body strung on a cross with Virgin Mary and St. John facing him on each side. I believe this symbolizes the final moments of Christ’s death as you can see the blood flowing down from his limbs, muscles in distress, and head down showing a sign of execution. In this piece, it’s amazing how the artist managed to make everything look so real, from the hair to the bones helping the viewer dive deeper into the meaning of this painting. Giotto’s Crucifix of Santa Maria Novella was made roughly between 1288-1289, then later on reconstructed in 2000. This piece was inspired by the School of Franciscan, which has a Roman Catholic religious belief. In conclusion, all three of these pieces have an interesting story as to how they’re similar and also how they differ.
From the research that I performed, I’ve learned that each object has it’s own representation to the civilizations that created it during it’s time. With the Giotto Crucifix of Santa Maria Novella, it comes with it’s own interpretation, style, and art as compared to the other two. However, it mostly appears to be the style and material that puts the three apart so differently. With the Giotto Crucifix, it is what I would say is a tempera painting, while the Totem Pole is a carved and painted log, and the Minoan Snake Goddess is made up of frescoes and painted pottery. Each object, at it’s core, seemed to be of both spiritual and religious importance at the end of the day.
The Giotto Crucifix, is, from what I understand of it, meant to symbolize the final moment of Christ’s death. The details in both the body, blood, and the piece itself shows how far the artist might have gone to properly pay respects to either their religion, or a religion they understood. In a way, the piece shows off the suffering and sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for his people, and, as far as I understand it, symbolizes him dying for the sins of his people, as far as religion would say. The Minoan Snake Goddess is instead a statue of a woman holding one snake in each hand. Each one is suppose to represent something different, such as access to spiritual wisdom, but I was unsure as to what the other stood for. She is considered to be a “bridge” between the two by some. Interestingly enough, in Minoan culture, it is also claimed that women were primarily in charge, as compared to the opposite for most of the world during that time period. Finally, the Totem Pole is considered a marker and respect of one’s passing. The animal carved into the top is suppose to be the animal that has been guiding and protecting the life of the one who has fallen, and even in the afterlife, will guide and protect him. A spirit animal, if you will.
Overall, I think all of them are similar, yet different at the same time. The reasons they were made are quite similar – spiritual respect, religion, worship, and more. Perhaps even simply understanding. Meanwhile, their design and material all differs vastly as mentioned. Each one had a different design, and was made from a different material.