Egypt
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Egypt. Old Kingdom 3100-2185 BC Middle Kingdom 2133-1786 BC New Kingdom 1580-1085 BC. Artist as Magician. New Vocabulary Ka Palatte Mastaba Pylon. Civilization in Egypt organized earlier, but first dynasties 3000 BC-the start of the old kingdom

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Egypt

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Egypt

Old Kingdom 3100-2185 BC

Middle Kingdom 2133-1786 BC

New Kingdom 1580-1085 BC

Artist as Magician


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New Vocabulary

Ka

Palatte

Mastaba

Pylon


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  • Civilization in Egypt organized earlier, but first dynasties 3000 BC-the start of the old kingdom

  • Pharaoh was supreme ruler and a god- basis of all civilization and of artwork

  • Knowledge of civilization rest solely in tombs

  • Preoccupation with the cult of the dead (like Neolithic) but no fear of the spirits of the dead

  • Each person must provide for the happiness of his afterlife- would reproduce daily life in tombs for their Ka (spirit) to enjoy- blurring of line between life and death

  • Tomb was like afterlife insurance


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  • Utilitarian-used to prepare eye makeup (to protect from sun glare)

  • King Narmer united upper and lower Egypt- wears the crown of upper Egypt

  • Palette is first known work of historical art (as opposed to pre-historic) and is not funerary

  • Symbols include: Papyrus (lower Egypt), falcon (Horus), bare feet, lower figures

Palette of King Narmer, c. 3000 BC


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  • Other Side-

  • appears barefoot again and marches to inspect decapitated enemies.

  • Pharoh is strong bull trampling enemy and knocking down a citadel- bulls tail is a part of pharoh garb for 3000 years

  • Center section is a symbol for unification -used to hold eye makeup

  • Both panels have a strong sense of order-organized into bands

  • Artist works for clarity first

  • Only 3 views- frontal, profile, from above

  • Strives to show pharaoh in most complete way- but this prevents any feeling of movement


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Tomb Architecture-relates only to Pharaoh and high officials


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Step Pyramid of Zoser, 2600 bc

Built on a Mastaba (Arabic for “bench”), burial chamber deep underground with a shaft linking it to the pyramid, meant to serve as a great monument


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Step Pyramid of King Zoser, 3rd Dynasty, 2600 BC

  • Part of a huge funerary district with temples and other buildings, scenes of religious celebration before and after death-both symbolic and practical

  • Designed by Imhotep-1st known artist in recorded history


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  • Columns

  • Egyptian architecture began with mud bricks, wood, reeds- Imhotep used cut stone masonry

  • style was similar to less enduring material- columns are always engaged rather than free-standing- just like bundles of reeds used to look like-

  • now columns had an expressive purpose rather than just functional-had a profound impact on Greek architecture

  • tapering fluted columns were designed for harmony and elegance, not just to hold things up

  • Papyrus columns are linked with lower Egypt


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Great Pyramids at Giza, 4th Dynasty

  • Egyptian dead were always buried on the west side of the Nile, where the sun sets

  • Burial Chamber is in the center of the pyramid rather than underneath

  • Originally covered in smooth stone, built over the course of 75 years

  • Funerary district is much more organized than Zoser- surrounded by mastabas and smaller pyramids

  • Pyramid shape came from cult of the sun god, Re, also from step shape


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The Great Sphinx, Pyramids at Giza

  • Next to pyramids (closest to Chefron)-serves as guardian

  • 65 feet tall, carved from one stone

  • Damaged during Islamic times, but had features of Chefron

  • End of the period of huge scale monuments


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Chefron from Giza, 2500 BC

  • Served as a back up in case mummies were destroyed

  • Made of carved of extremely hard stone called diorite

  • shows enthroned king with the falcon of the god Horus

  • Shows the artist’s cubic view of the human figure- created by drawing the front and side view of the figure on the block of stone and then working inward until the views met

  • figure is immobile and firm- the body is impersonal but the face has some individual traits


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  • Standing (common pose), both have left foot forward, yet they are not moving forward-

  • No emotion- outwardly or towards each other

  • same height, provide a comparison of male and female beauty

Mycerinus and Queen


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  • Most poses were seated or standing- another pose added in the 4th century BC-

  • the scribe pose- cross-legged on the ground- scribe is a lower court official- most scribes were sons of pharaohs.

  • Alert expression in face, individualized torso- flabby and middle-aged

  • Serves true for the history of art- the lower the rank of the subject, the more realism is used

Seated Scribe


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  • Tomb paintings (non-royal)- landscapes were popular

  • background is very active

  • Ti is much larger than others- shows importance

  • Ti isn’t engaging in activity- he’s watching- also shows importance

  • Action is going on after death- body does not respond, but the spirit appreciates the activity

  • Scenes are not nostalgic, they describe life cycle activities

  • Success of the hunt symbolizes triumph over evil

Ti Watching a Hippo


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The Middle Kingdom

  • Collapse of centralized pharaonic power at the end of the sixth dynasty= Egypt entered political disturbance for 700 years-

  • power by local overlords who revived rivalry of the north/south

  • after 12th century, invaded by Hyksos, of Asiatic origin and ruled for 150 years until 1570 BC

  • Portraiture- faces are troubled rather than serene- have self-awareness- very realistic physically and psychological-

Portrait of Sesostris, 1850 BC


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New Kingdom...

  • 500 years following Hyksos- 18th-20th dynasties are a golden age of Egypt-

  • extended borders into Palestine and Syria –period known as the empire- tremendous trade and architectural projects-centering on new capital, Thebes

  • divinity of kings now connected with god Amun who was fused with Ra (sun god) and was the ultimate deity- priests of Amun grew in wealth and in power and threatened power of pharaoh-

  • Amenhotep IV tried to gain more power by declaring the existence of only one god, the sun god Aten- changed his name to Akhenaten, closed the Amun temples, and moved the capital to central Egypt-

  • his attempts at monotheism did not outlast his reign (1365-1347 BC)- country became based on priests until until taken over by Greek and Romans

  • New Kingdom art covers many styles


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  • Built 1480 BC against rocky cliffs,

  • Built by Hatshepsut, the first great female ruler-often portrayed as a man in portraits

  • dedicated to Amun-

  • linked by ramps and colonnades to a small chamber deep in the rock-

  • great example of architecture within natural setting- ramps echo shape of cliffs

Temple of Hatshepsut, 1480 BC


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  • More imperial palaces built

  • Dedicated to Amun, supreme God

  • An example of the form of most New Kingdom Palaces

  • Entrance is a Pylon

  • Closed off by walls

  • Faces the Nile

  • Columns made much heavier than needed and were elaborately carved

Temple at Luxor, 1390 BC


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How has style changed?

Mai and his Wife

  • How has the society’s vision of beauty changed?

  • More androgynous, weaker-looking-why??

Akhenaten- done 15 years later


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  • A famous example of the Akhenaten Style

  • New sense of style that unfreezes the immobility of Egyptian art

  • Was unfinished and found in the sculptor’s studio

Queen Nofretete, 1360 BC


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  • Style and religion returned to tradition-

  • Tutankhamen was Akhenaten’s son-died at age 18

  • Three nesting coffins

Owes his fame to the undisturbed contents of his tomb!!

Coffin of Tutankhamen


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