Egyptian Art • Ancient Egyptians were a people who believed in many gods. These gods were manifest in every aspect of nature. A god could be human or an animal form or both. Their gods influenced their lives and gave order to their world.
The Ancient Egyptians did not view death as the end of life. They believed a person’s KA or soul could enjoy an afterlife. To ensure this afterlife the deceased had to be physically preserved along with his or her personal possessions. Because of this belief much of the artifacts from the Ancient Egyptian times are funerary.
The pharaoh or king played a crucial role in Egyptian life. As a son of the sun god, Ra, a pharaoh became a god-king with absolute power. The pharaoh’s power continued when he died. The past pharaohs would influence future life in Egypt. The reason Egypt erected such monumental art forms was to stay in the dead pharaohs good graces.
Ancient Egyptian history is divided into three periods • Old Kingdom • Middle Kingdom • New Kingdom
Old Kingdom- during this time period the first tombs were called “mastabas.” They were flat topped single story structures.
Each mastabas had an underground chamber with a stone sarcophagus. The sarcophagus was a coffin to protect the deceased ruler’s mummy.
The royal builder for King Dojoser, an architect named Imhotep had a new idea, he decided to stack the mastabas in descending size thus creating a stepped pyramid. • Imhoptep is famous for another reason besides the pyramids. He is the first recorded artist in history!
Imhoptep, Stepped Pyramid 2630-2611 BCEOne of the oldest structures in EgyptEach side faces one of the cardinal points on a compass.
Other pyramids were built. The next slide shows the great pyramids, Gizeh. From the left are Pyramid of Menkaure, Khafre and Khufu.
Palette of Narmer, is an important work in Ancient Egypt. Created in 3100 BC the palette was made for the king Narmer who unified the upper and lower half's of Egypt. Every image on the palette displays Narmer’s invincible power. It is a good example of heirarchical scale. Narmer towers over his enemies. This hierarchical scale will continue in art for centuries.
Statue of Khafre. This sculpture is designed for lasting eternity. It is made out of one of the hardest and durable stones, diorite. The pharaoh, Khafre is portrayed as an all powerful king-god.
Middle Kingdom 2040-1640 • The Middle Kingdom period was one of difficult military and political challenges. The burial sites were not the large pyramids of the Old Kingdom but hollowed out tombs from the side of cliffs.
This is the fragmentary head of King Senusret. The sculptor brought realism to his face showing a ruler who had shared in the hardships of the world. It mirrors the troubled age and pessimism of the period.
New Kingdom1550-1070 BCE • The New Kingdom period is Egypt’s most brilliant time. • Egypt extended its’ borders from the Euphrates river to the Sudan. • A new capitol, Thebes became a great metropolis with magnificent palaces, tombs and temples- all along the banks of the Nile river.
One of the most impressive monuments during this time was Hatshepsut’s Temple. This temple was constructed for the female pharaoh, Hatshepsut. Hatshepsut is considered one of the most remarkable women of the ancient world. She was a strong leader who for two decades ruled the most powerful and prosperous empire. The temple of Hatshepsut rises from the side of rock.It has three colonnade terraces connected by ramps.It is visually suited for its’ natural setting.
What is unusual about this temple? • Through out the monument there are more than 200 statues of her as well as clay reliefs telling the story of her great accomplishments as well as proving her divine birth. • Some of the artists portray her as a woman and some give her more manly features. • Historians say she was constantly proving her right to the thrown.
Pharaoh Akhenaton • The pharaoh, Akhenaton was controversial because he challenged the the religious and artistic ways of the day. • He started a religion based on a single god, Aton. He claimed he was Aton’s son. • He brought on the style of Amarna- which emphasized naturalistic qualities.
The famous bust of Queen Nefertiti is a prime example of the Amarna style. Notice the curving lines and natural qualities of the figure.
King Tutankhamen(most likely Akhenaton’s son by a lesser wife.)He ruled for a decade and died at age 18. He was not a big figure in Egyptian history but we know many facts about him because his tomb was largely undisturbed.
Hypostyle Halls • In a New Kingdom temple there were Hypostyle halls. These halls had open court with columns on either side. The columns were massive – up to 66 feet high. • A very famous one is The Hypostyle Hall at Amen-Re.
References • Kleiner and Mamiya, Gardner’s Art Through the Ages • Mittler, Art in Focus • Chmiel, Krieger, AP Art History • http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.the-silk-route.co.uk/images-egypt/karnak1.jpg&imgrefurl=http://