Art of ancient Egypt: Wikis

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Ancient Egyptian art refers to the style of painting, sculpture, crafts and architecture developed by the civilization in the lower Nile Valley from 5000 BC to 300 AD. Ancient Egyptian art was expressed in paintings and sculptures & was both highly stylized and symbolic. Much of the surviving art comes from tombs and monuments and thus there is an emphasis on life after death and the preservation of knowledge of the past.

In a more narrow sense, Ancient Egyptian art refers to the canonical 2nd and 3rd Dynasty art developed in Egypt from 3000 BC and used until the 3rd century. Most elements of Egyptian art remained remarkably stable over that 3000 year period without strong outside influence. The level of art was not as developed as the other civilization as they did not have enough time to do extra things such as art.

Contents

Periods

Miniature Egyptian glassware from the New Kingdom period.

1*Predynastic (4210 BC–2680 BC) 2*Old Kingdom (2680 BC2258 BC) 3*Middle Kingdom (2258 BC1786 BC) 4*New Kingdom (1786 BC1085 BC) 5*Amarna Period (1085 BC1055 BC) 6*Late Period (1055 BC287 BC) 7*Ptolemaic 8

Symbolism

Symbolism also played an important role in establishing a sense of order. Symbolism, ranging from the pharaoh's regalia (symbolizing his power to maintain order) to the individual symbols of Egyptian gods and goddesses, is omnipresent in Egyptian art. Animals were usually also highly symbolic figures in Egyptian art. Colors were more expressive rather than natural: red skin implied vigorous tanned youth, whereas yellow skin was used for women or middle-aged men who worked indoors; blue or gold indicated divinity because of its unnatural appearance and association with precious materials; the use of black for royal figures expressed the fertility of the Nile from which Egypt was born. Stereotypes were employed to indicate the geographical origins of foreigners[1]

Paintings

Wall painting of Nefertari

Many ancient Egyptian paintings have survived due to Egypt's extremely dry climate. The paintings were often made with the intent of making a pleasant afterlife for the deceased. The themes included journey through the afterworld or protective deities introducing the deceased to the gods of the underworld (such as Osiris). Some tomb paintings show activities that the deceased were involved in when they were alive and wished to carry on doing for eternity.

In the New Kingdom and later, the Book of the Dead was buried with the entombed person. It was considered important for an introduction to the afterlife.

Egyptian paintings are painted in such a way to show a profile view and a side view of the animal or person. For example, the painting to the right shows the head from a profile view and the body from a frontal view. Their main colors were red, blue, black, gold, and green.

Evolution

Two daughters of Amenophis IV; Nofernoferuaton and Nofernoferure, c. 1375-1358 BC

The Ancient Egyptian art style known as Amarna art was a style of art that was adopted in the Amarna Period (i.e. during and just after the reign of Akhenaten in the late Eighteenth Dynasty), and is noticeably different from more conventional Egyptian art styles.

It is characterized by a sense of movement and activity in images, with figures having raised heads, many figures overlapping and many scenes busy and crowded. Also, the human body is portrayed differently in Amarna style artwork than Egyptian art on the whole. For instance, many depictions of Akhenaten's body give him distinctly feminine qualities, such as large hips, prominent breasts, and a larger stomach and thighs. This is a divergence from the earlier Egyptian art which shows men with perfectly chiseled bodies. Faces are still shown exclusively in profile. Not many buildings from this period have survived the ravages of later kings, partially as they were constructed out of standard size blocks, known as Talatat, which were very easy to remove and reuse. Temples in Amarna, following the trend, did not follow traditional Egyptian customs and were open, without ceilings, and had no closing doors.

In the generation after Akhenaten's death, artists reverted to their old styles. There were still traces of this period's style in later art.

See also

References

  1. ^ Historical Atlas of Ancient Egypt, Bill Manley (1996) pg83

External links

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