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

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Presentation Transcript


Old Kingdom

Middle Kingdom

New Kingdom

Artist as Magician


New Vocabulary






Civilization in Egypt organized earlier, but first organized in 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

King Narmer united upper and lower Egypt

  • Palette is first known work of historical art (as opposed to pre-historic)
  • Symbols include: Papyrus, falcon, bare feet, lower figures

Palette of King Narmer, c. 3000 BC


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 does not convey a specific meaning
  • Both panels have a strong sense of order
  • 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

Step Pyramid of Zoser, 2600 bc

Built on a mastaba, burial chamber deep underground with a shaft linking it to the pyramid, meant to serve as a great monument


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



  • Egyptian architecture began with mud bricks, wood, reeds- Imhotep (first artist whose name was part of recorded history) 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
  • tapering fluted columns were designed for harmony and elegance, not just to hold things up
  • Papyrus columns are linked with lower Egypt

Great Pyramids at Giza, 4th Dynasty

  • Burial Chamber is in the center of the pyramid rather than underneath
  • Originally covered in smooth stone
  • Funerary district is much more organized than Zoser- surrounded by mastabas and smaller pyramids

The Great Sphinx, Pyramids at Giza

  • Next to pyramids (closest to Chefron)
  • 65 feet tall
  • Damaged during Islamic times, but had features of Chefron
  • End of the period of huge scale monuments

Chefron from Giza

  • 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

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

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

Mycerinus and Queen


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 high court official- most scribes were sons of pharaohs. Alert expression in face, individualized torso- flabby and middle-aged

Old kingdom also invented the portrait bust- whether it was an abbreviated statue or had some greater significance(I.E. the Neolithic separating the head from the body) is unknown- shows skull and flesh

Seated Scribe


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

Ti Watching a Hippo


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


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 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

Built 1480 BC against rocky cliffs, 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


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

Temple at Luxor, 1390 BC


How has style changed?

Mai and his Wife

How has the society’s vision of beauty changed?

Akhenaten- done 10 years later