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ChococatinArt through the Ages
An original research project
Here we see the earliest known appearance of the ubiquitous Chococat image. Dating from the prehistoric age, approximately 30,000-25,000 BCE this small limestone statue is known as the Chococat of Willendorf. From the exaggerated sexual characteristics, it is theorized that this was a fertility goddess or charm.
This Egyptian papyrus dates from about 332-30 BCE, roughly the Ptolmaic period. This section of the Book of the Dead shows Osirus judging the newly deceased. The man’s heart is placed on the scales and weighed against a feather. Chococat stands by to eat the deceased and his heart in case he fails the test. Egypt is one of the few cultures that uses the Chococat image as an evil or frightening creature; most examples of Chococat found thus far portray him/her as a neutral or even benevolent being.
Shown here is the “Seated Chococat”, a Greek bronze dating 100-50 BCE. This Hellenistic figures differs from other works of the period in its simple, unexaggerated pose and demeanor. The use of reflected light to give an impression of Chococat’s typically wide eyes proves that this is the work of a master. Other materials were used to tint the nose of the figure, again in keeping with traditional representations of Chococat. Unfortunately, significant deterioration of the figure’s head has given it a somewhat mottled appearance.
The Middle Ages
“Breviary of Martin of Aragon” is the name of this manuscript, dating from fifteenth century Spain. This page in particular is the July calendar page and shows St. Paul addressing the Colossians on the left, the zodiac sign for Leo in the middle, and the Apostle’s Creed, St Bartholomew and the prophet Micah on the right. Chococat appears in a window holding a flag; this figure similarly appears in each of the calendar pages. The significance Chococat in this setting is unclear, although some postulate that the illuminator of these pages used the figure as a sort of signature for his or her work.
This engraving was done by Albrect Durer in 1493. It is called “Witch Riding a Ram Backwards.” Portrayals of witches and demons are common to the engravings of Durer, but this includes an unusual detail, not found in any of Durer’s other works. In the upper left corner, Durer included Chococats raining from heaven, a common symbolic convention of this time period.
Most people are familiar with Botticelli’s painting “The Birth of Venus”(1480). Recently discovered, however, is this “Birth of Chococat.” It is unknown which painting was done first, although many scholars now believe one of Botticelli’s students did the Venus painting, and copying from the great master’s Chococat painting.
This painting is called “Aristotle contemplating the bust of Chococat.” Presumably it was done by Rembrandt in 1653, although there has been some conflict about that. The Rembrandt Convention, which is reexamining all painting attributed to Rembrandt, has put this painting on their “maybe” list.
Here we have an Impressionist painting by Claude Monet called “Chococat by the Seine at Argenteuil.” The style of the painting implies it was done in the 1870s; Monet’s earlier works showed detail more clearly, while his late works lost the sense of detail (and sometimes subject matter altogether) and became studies of color. The Seine was a popular subject for most of the Impressionist painters.
George Seurat made his name in art by taking the study of color relations used in Impressionism a step further; he took strokes of color and turned them into small dots, or points, of color. This painting is a prime example of his style, which was called Pointillism and was copied by many other artists. It is called “Portrait of Chococat” and was done in 1889.
Although this painting is more curvilinear that his other paintings, its attribution to Pablo Picasso is widely accepted. It is called simply “Chococat” and was completed in 1925. It is atypical of the Cubist style because of its smooth flowing lines and its lack of geometric components .
Andy Warhol is one of the most famous artists of the twentieth century, known for his unusual portraits of famous people. It is only fitting that he should choose for a subject one of the most famous figures of our, and indeed all, times, namely Chococat. This small portrait was done in 1963.