The ancient Egyptians were true artists motivated by religious mythological dogmas, infinite curiosity, and a search for the notion of aesthetics. On the course of about three thousand years, ancient Egyptian art showcased the powerful bond between the ideologies of their time and the cosmic order, also it didn’t serve as an individual artistic expression because The ancient Egyptian language didn’t have a word of “Art” as it was intertwined with the religion to the deepest core. The various forms of ancient Egyptian art are characterized by their high quality, absolute symmetry, and detailed depiction of human beings like Kings & Queens, Royals, Ministries, and holy Deities and reflective images from their nature and environment. It was also very symbolic as it carried many vivid representations on philosophical topics like time, life, and death.
Purpose of Ancient Egyptian Art
Ancient Egyptian art includes paintings, sculptures of stone, ceramics, and even wood, drawings on papyrus, amazing wall carvings, jewelry, ivories which displayed the extraordinarily ancient Egyptian socioeconomic structure and belief system through the ages. Much of the surviving ancient Egyptian artifacts and monuments came from the tombs as they were created to emphasize the idea of life after death and as a manner to preserve the knowledge of the past. The level of conventions and the quality of observation and quality started at a high level in the old kingdom of ancient Egypt (2680-2258 BC) and remained at the same level till the Ptolemaic era in (323 BC – 30 BC). Most of the ancient Egyptian artists’ names are anonymous or lost in history as art was created to be a functional art for the purpose of satisfying their practical beliefs, as each piece of art was created for each individual but later on, art became indented for everyone for aesthetic pleasure.
The Historical Progress In Ancient Egyptian Art
The art of ancient Egypt has gone through a transformative phase of science at the time of its discovery. The art with mainly concerned with the story of the elite, the ruling dynasty, and the upper class who were able to afford the creation of such artworks like decorative tombs and temples filled with beautiful inscriptions that contained amazing stories and literature which revealed a great deal about the history about their lives for both the upper and lower classes of Egypt. The Narmer Palette is one of the early examples of ancient Egyptian art in the early dynastic period (3150-2613 BCE), it is considered to be a true masterpiece that showcases how brilliant and advances the Egyptian artists were at the time.
1. Ancient Egyptian Art In the Old Kingdom
In the old Kingdom, the art of architecture showcased in the step pyramid of king Djoser by the architect Imhotep is a true masterpiece of brilliance as it is perfectly designed with papyrus plants, lotus flowers in the best skill and in it also the culture of Egypt enjoyed a sophisticated atmosphere due to the existence of various art forms like paintings, sculptures, literature, and various others. Also in the old kingdom, the great pyramids of Giza and the mythical sphinx were constructed to be the greatest example of ancient Egyptian architecture and art design.
2. Ancient Egyptian Art In the Middle Kingdom
The middle kingdom of Egypt (2040-1782 BC) is the highest summit of Egyptian culture as it adopted the realistic representations of the lower classes, unlike the old kingdom who were only focused on the subject of idealism and the representation of the upper class only. The middle kingdom is responsible for the construction of the Karnak temple which manifests the allure of ancient Egyptian art better than anyone.
3. Ancient Egyptian Art In the New Kingdom
In the new kingdom of Egypt (1570-1070 BCE) most of the world’s finest, famous, and known ancient Egyptian works of art were created such as the golden mask of Tutankhamun, the bust of Nefertiti, and the temple of Abu Simbel. The art of the new kingdom was defined by extravagant designs, high quality in vision, and advanced techniques in contrasting them due to the interaction with the neighboring cultures like the Hittites who introduced them to the concept of metalworking.
4. Ancient Egyptian Art In the Greco-Roman Period
In the Ptolemaic period, a paradigm was presented which suggested the old kingdom standards with the new kingdom advance technique accompanied by a Greek task, this paradigm persisted into the Roman period (30-646 AD) till the end of Egyptian culture and the city of Alexandria is the best example of ancient Greco-Roman art.
Symbolism in Ancient Egyptian Art
Symbolism played a key role in establishing a sense of order which can clearly be viewed from the Pharaoh’s regalia which symbolizes his power to claim order and dominance and the omnipresence of the Egyptian gods and goddess. The ancient Egyptian artists were able to showcase a sophisticated knowledge of anatomy and maintain close attention to details which provided countless important information about their culture and history. Animals were also very symbolic in Egyptian art. Colors were very expressive, as the ancient Egyptian language has 4 basic colors; they are Kem (black) made of carbon, Hedj (white/silver) from Gypsum, Wadj (green/blue) from malachite and azurite, and Desher (red/yellow/orange) from iron oxides. The color Blue represents the fertility, life-giving, and birth of the Nile, blue and green were the colors of vegetation and symbolized rejuvenation, rebirth, and resurrection hence the case of the king of the underworld Osiris, yellow stood for the sun god Ra and wealth, silver was revered to as white gold and also as bones of the gods while the color gold is the bone flesh of the gods, red symbolizes power and vitality and black was the color of death and funerary deities such as Anubis and was used to write the famous book of the dead. The mummification process is also an example of great genuine ancient Egyptian art as everything about it like canopic jars, wood covens screamed pure beauty and wonder.
Hieroglyphics And Literature In Ancient Egypt Art
Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic is considered to be an incredible part of ancient Egyptian arts as the texts were filled with countless pictures and symbols which had was used to have independent meanings or used in combinations. Some of the symbols convey multiple meanings which gave the Egyptian literature a unique supreme feel. The Egyptian literature contained many artistic forms such as hymns to the gods, mythological, magical, wisdom, and mortuary texts.
They would frequently use hierarchical proportion (in which the size of the person of the event would indicate their relative importance) in their paintings and sculpture. Most of the deities and the divine pharaohs were made larger than any other and the high official and their tombs, even the servants, entertainers, animals, trees, and architectural details were usually smaller to indicate their low stature compared to the stature of the kings of Egypt.
Paintings in Ancient Egypt
The ancient Egyptian beautiful paintings were created to make the afterlife of the deceased more pleasant. The paintings showed many images from normal life like hunting and fishing with close-up landscape backgrounds of reeds and water. They were painted on temple walls & tombs and held many themes like their journey to the afterlife or the deceased standing in front of Osiris or showcase the activities the deceased was involved in. the paintings were made in a very unique manner as they showed a profile view or a side view of the animal or a person at the same time.
Sculptures In Ancient Egypt
Most of the ancient Egyptian artifacts were constructed to represent the ancient Egyptian gods, the divine kings, and queens in the most extravagant, massive, and magnificent manner. The statues were built in order to give eternal life to the kings and queens and to enable the public to see them in a physical form. They were created following certain rules as the male statues were darker than the female ones. In the seated statues hands were required to be placed on the knee, as for the appearance of the gods, each god and goddess appearance was governed by specific rules.
Amazing Tours to Egyptian Civilization
There is no better place on earth that can offer a deeper look at the beautiful core of ancient art than Egypt. You have this once-in-a-lifetime chance with our Egypt travel packages to explore the majestic monuments and artifacts of ancient Egypt, through the enchanting cities of Cairo, Luxor, and Aswan through an unforgettable Nile River cruise on the life force of this heavenly country.