Ancient Egypt • The favorite subjects of ancient Egyptian art were death and the afterlife. • Their Kings (Pharaohs) had their tombs decorated with paintings and sculptures. • Example of ancient Egyptian tomb painting
Sculptures of the Pharaoh were made and placed in his tomb to serve as an eternal body for his spirit in the afterlife.
The walls of the tombs were decorated with paintings. This one shows the god Anubis weighing the Pharaoh’s soul on a scale to determine his fate.
Egyptian artists used “Descriptive perspective” -the most important people are drawn larger than less important people. • This painting shows the Pharaoh hunting. He is depicted much larger than everyone else.
Imhotep • Imhotep was the first artist whose name is recorded in history. Legend says he designed the first pyramid and invented medicine.
Ancient Egypt’s most famous architectural monuments are the pyramids. The first pyramids were step pyramids. This one was designed by Imhotep for the Pharaoh Zoser about 5000 years ago.
The largest pyramids were built about 2500 BC (4500 years ago) at Giza, near Cairo.
The pyramids served as tombs and monuments for the Pharaohs. Hidden passages led to the center where the Pharaoh was entombed. His chamber would have been filled with treasure, but grave robbers stole the treasures centuries ago.
The Great Pyramid at Giza was built for Pharaoh Khufu around 2600 BC. It is 481 feet high. It was the tallest man-made building in the world for over 3000 years.
Near the Great Pyramid is the Sphinx- a large sculpture of a lion’s body with a man’s head.
Not all Pharaohs were buried in pyramids. Some had their tombs built underground to hide them. King Tutankhamen’s tomb remained hidden for over 3,000 years. It was discovered in 1922.
Review Questions • What were the favorite subjects of the ancient Egyptian artists? • Why were sculptures of the Pharaoh made and placed in his tomb? • What is descriptive perspective? • Who was Imhotep and what did he do? • What famous Egyptian monuments were built at Giza around 2500BC? • What did the pyramids serve as? • What was the tallest man-made building in the world for over 3000 years? • What mysterious monument is located near the Great pyramid? • What Pharaoh’s tomb remained hidden for over 3,000 years? It was discovered in 1922.