Time (beginning of work):
Children of the Deceased (detail of a limestone relief). Tomb of Ramose in Thebes. 1375 B.C.
Many students find ancient Egypt a fascinating subject, and so do I. This is why I will provide more information in this guide. The last pages are offered for extracurricular learning.
Overlook of Egyptian art Extra credit project (1point)
Image-link (Point and “Ctrl + click”)
If you have a few minutes to learn more and understand better Egyptian art, you are welcome to watch this Video.
Notes on important issues and interesting facts (8 minutes – 8 facts)
In contrast to the diversity of the Near East region, the Egyptians created
a remarkably stable civilization that endured without major changes for some
What land is called the Fertile Crescent? – *__Mesopotamian civilization
What area is called the Fertile Ribbon? – *__egypt
Why fertile?- Because the land of Egypt had been enriched by the Nile’s annual floods.
Its agriculture critically depended on those floods and fertilization they provided.
Three aspects of Egyptian art and life stand as unique:
3.Conventionalism – this term means that Egyptian art was based on
traditions and conventions (rules) which had not changed for three millennia.
(Millennia is plural for millennium, just reminding)
There were three major periods in the history of Egypt.
I am going to help you with the millennia. Take a minute to check them against your imaginary Timeline or make a quick drawing. I will not be asking you about the dates but you should understand and remember about the millennia. Make sure you understand about the first and second halves of millennium B.C.
2680 – 2258 B.C.
first half of the 2nd millennium
second half of the 2nd millennium
Pyramids & Large Statues – the hallmarks of Egyptian art were created in this period.
What was the focal aspect of Egyptian religion? –__
In what way did these beliefs effect the development of art? –__
It is due to the funerary arts that we know so much about the life of ancient Egyptians (who lived 5000 years before us!)
Sculpture Old Kingdom
What manner of rendering of the human figure was initiated in the Old Kingdom and lasted thousands of years?
While reading your book, observe the detail of the tomb wall painting(below).
Parts of the body presented in profile:
Parts are shown in a frontal view:
Are figures three-dimensional or flat?
Fresco – a painting done quick with water colors
Were the Egyptians first to use this
Important Art History Notions
In the previous guide, we have already talked about Conventional & Conceptual styles (or manners). There is also the third term which is close in its meaning – Stylized manner.
Terminology – a set of special terms – is an essential part of any area of knowledge, any discipline. It serves as a language. As one cannot become a doctor without learning medical terminology, one cannot understand art history without knowing the basic terms and notions. Besides, you sound like a true art connoisseur and expert when using terms (smile).
The following terms are related to the major notions in art history. You are going to come across them all the time.
Any object of human figure can be rendered in two major ways
Artists try to recreate the likeness,
how the objects look in real life – in nature.
in conceptual manner
in stylized manner
in idealistic manner
These four are close terms.
Instead they consciously follow certain
Conventions (rules), concepts, styles, ideals.
When in doubt about any term of word – just searches the great Net.
You can simply type the word or expression and hit “Search”
You can also rely on the credited free reference sources such as Encyclopedia Britannica and Free Dictionary.
TERMS Define the following terms (type in after “*”)
RELIEF(certain kind of sculpture)– *
Relief sculpture can be of two types:
HIGH RELIEF– *
BAS-RELIEF – *
Bas means low in French. Pronounced [bah] (“s” is mute at the end of words)
Here we are, learning French now. Don’t ask me why the English-speaking art historians use French word
“bas”(low) for “low relief” but are quite satisfied with English word “high” in case of “high relief”(smile)
Check this out and see if you like how Britannica defines and illustrates the terms. If you like it – bookmark and use it.
Also remember that the notion relief is opposed to free-standing sculpture, which is also called sculpture in round.
Egyptian sculptors used mostly bas-relief technique.
INCISEDdetail in the sculptural relief– * /What does this mean?
(Remember to delete my guiding text after reading it)
Knowing Terms is a critical part of studying any discipline. Expect them to be on the tests.
Before you start reading about the Narmer Palette, I would like to elaborate on two terms that seem to be quite confusing for many (and not only students).
The Egyptians called their Kingdom ‘The Two Lands’ –
Upper Egypt & Lower Egypt.
Lower Land (Egypt) – this is how ancient Egyptian called
the delta area of the Nile river.
Upper Land (Egypt) – was the name for the territories located up the river, beyond the city of Amarna.
“While the labelling of “Upper” and “Lower” might seem counterintuitive, with Upper Egypt in the south and Lower Egypt
in the north on modern maps, the terminology derives from
the flow of the Nile from the highlands of East Africa
(upstream) to the Mediterranean Sea (downstream).
The two kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt
were united c. 3000 BCE, but each maintained its own regalia.”
Narmer Palette Old Kingdom
Cosmetic Paletteswere used for grinding up minerals for pigments (e.g., black) to outline the eyes.
What important historical event did it commemorate?
Who is depicted on the back of the palette? –
How does the crown of Upper Egypt look? –
Falcon is a symbol of which god?
Bull-shaped headsrepresent which goddess? –
And this is how the crown of Lower Egypt looked (on the right).
It is fancier, isn’t it?
You can make small simple sketches yourself while reading.
This is a good study technique –
it helps to memorize info. It is also fun.
Manner in which the king is depicted – naturalistic or conventional?
[Leave the right term and erase the wrong one]
As you may notice, I keep dwelling on these basic terms because they are very important. You will continue coming across all the time. Thus, it is going to happen on the next page…
Now take a look at the front of the palette.
REGISTER – * Define Term
How many registers is the palette divided into? – *
What can you tell about the size of the king’s figure? – *__
Go back to take another glance at the Akkadian Victory Stele of Naram Sin and you will see a similar case.
Keep in mind that making major figures larger (e.g., kings and gods) had been typical for all ancient art.
Egyptiantomb sculpture is represented by large-size statues also called KA-statues
– * [Describe how they were made]
KA-statues – * [explain their purpose]
Are the KA-statues naturalistically done portraits? – *…
Note that there was still some touch of realism in the faces of these statures. Do you know why?
Supposedly, the lifelikeness let the Ka (soul) to recognize the statue as its dwelling)
Statue of* – example of Ka-figure
Date: * (3rd millennium B.C.)
Observe the statue closely and find all the typical
features for Old Kingdom sculpture:
Name the conventional attributes of the pharaoh:
Falcon (sitting behind his head) represents
Canon of proportions – * [Define Term]
[Note: Canon generally means set of rules]
Tomb sculpture was usually carved in very hard stones like granite or diorite. Any idea why they would choose the hard materials? –
Architecture Old Kingdom
*__– The most spectacular remains of Ancient Egypt. [find Giza on the map]
In what period were these pyramids built? – *__
In what millennium? – *__
What was their purpose? – *__
Jot down a few numbers to demonstrate the gigantic size of these amazing structures (no need to memorize).
Weight of one block: *__
How many of blocks? : *__
What was the material the pyramids were constructed of? –*__
How do the interiors look? –*__
What was the problem that the pharaohs failed to foresee when creating their Houses for Eternal afterlife? –*__
Many of them probably lost this chance for eternity forever. Isn’t it sad…
An oasis and the pyramids of Giza. 1917. Credit: 3info2u.com/info-great-pyramid-of-giza.htm
Explain how they were built. Why did the Egyptians switched from constructing the pyramids to building rock-cut tombs?
The New Kingdom dates from1570 to 1342 B.C.
2000 B.C. 1500 B.C. 1300 B.C. 1000 B.C. 500 B.C.
History of Egypt in the transition from the Middle Kingdom to the next period.
Art of the New Kingdom: /List the main features
Mortuary Temple– a new architectural form developed in the New Kingdom.
In what ways was a different from the pyramids?*__
Mortuary Temple of Queen *…. [type the name of the famous she-pharaoh]
Describe appearance and construction of this temple. How did it look 3,500 years ago?
(Not as barren as in this picture, that for sure…).
Colonnade – *
TheAmarna Revolution: The Reign of Akhenaton and Nefertiti
Amarna Style in Egyptian art New Kingdom
Amenhotep IV rose to power during the 14th century B.C.
Akhenaton – his new name in honor of the sun god*____.
New Kingdom (1570- 1342B.C.)
1500 B.C. 1400 1300 1200 1100 1000 B.C. 500 B.C.
Why did he choose this name? *_
That is correct, the revolutionary pharaoh Akhenaton, established a cult of the sun god *_
He also fostered a new and distinctive artistic style.
At this moment you are probably reading about the “monotheistic fury” of Akhenaton.
In what way did this fury express itself? *_
Monotheistic – what does this term mean?
Greek and Latin words:
Mono– one, single
Poly – many
Monotheism – a belief in one god.
Polytheism – a belief that there are * (your guess)
Another example: Polychromatic (painting) – painted with many colors;
Monochromatic – in one color (+ white); close shades can be used.
Why did the period and style were named Amarna? – *
The short period of the Akhenaton’s reign (17 years) is called a Revolution.
This word does not necessarily mean a revolt or uprising. In a wider sense of the word, it indicates any drastic changes happening in a very short period of time.
Pillar statue of * from the Temple of *__ in Karnak (city).
Observing the statue of Akhenaton put a few lines on “revolutionary” changes in art.
Characteristics of the Amarna style (based on description of the statue):
Did the sculptor intend to create a likeness of the pharaoh? *__
I would emphasize two critical features:
Here is a curious fact(particularly if you are interested in medicine) : the naturalistic Akhenaton’s depictions is so vivid that it has allowed the doctors to suggest that the pharaoh had hydrocephalus or Marfan’s syndrome (based on the cone-shaped head, elongated face and jar, pot belly and flaring hips).
The revolutionary changes in art canbe even better seen in the bust of the pharaoh’s beautiful wife.
[Bust – a piece of sculpture representing a person’s head; could be with the shoulders or upper chest]
Bust of * [type the Queen’s name]
This work of art is considered to be the most extraordinary artistic
achievement of the Amarna period and entire ancient art.
“Eternal female, ceaselessly watching…” (art critic)
She was alsocalled a universal model of woman’s beauty.
How do you feel about such a definition?
Doesn’t this way of outlining eyes remind you about
60-s make-up type?
The life-sized carved portrait was discovered in 1912 by a team of German archaeologists
in the desert sands near the long-lost city Amarna founded by Akhenaten. (Left eye is unfinished)
This statue-head (bust) is one of the most arresting images of world art. The Queen has a fascinating vitality.
What means did the ancient sculptor use to enhance the naturalism of the work (likeness)?
There is a nice eulogy of Queen Nefertiti in your book – read it and take another look at this beautiful face.
Remember you were reading about the Narmer palette? Nefertiti was probably using one of the cosmetic palette of a more refine design than heroic subject of the Narmer palette (but again, she lived 1,500 years later)
Pop-quiz for you here: Who’s who?
Which eyes belonged to the Egyptian Queen Nefertiti and whose are Elizabeth Taylor’s?
Elizabeth Taylor played a role of an Egyptian queen in the celebrated Hollywood movie “Cleopatra” – but she had her eyes outlined not only in the film but in life too. I am sure you were able to guess right about the eyes (Who’s Who). But would not you admit that Nefertiti has the same make-up that was in vogue in the 1960s! And still is today ( 3500 years later). Now you know how far back this make-up fashion dates!
If you have the time you can watch the legendary movie once again. Even though the settings are not too scientifically reconstructed you can still enjoy seeing ancient Egypt coming alive.
Tutankhamen – was Akhenaten’s immediate successor.
King Tut was also called the boy-king –*… /Why such a term?
Tutankhamen’s tomb was discovered in 1922 virtually intact by *. /Archeologist’s name/
It is considered the greatest discovery in the history of archaeology. /Describe it in a few words
Tutankhamen’s coffin – the most spectacular find –
*… /Provide few facts
I would like to show you one more piece from the Tutankhamen’s tomb treasury – his throne, representing his parents-in-law –Akhenaten and Nefertiti.
Throne of Tutankhamen
The throne’s back shows the royal couple in a homely idyll.
King’s wife is touching him in a very gentle affectionate manner.
Observe how the pharaoh sits on his chair.
Can you see any sign of the official solemnity proper for
a living god (who the pharaohs were believed to be)?
(Compare to the earlier statues of the pharaohs?).
This piece clearly demonstrates that Amarna art brought
a revolutionary change – the thousands years old rules
We can only imagine how shocking this kind of art
was for the Egyptians and priests of the day because
of its novelty. Maybe even more shocking than some contemporary art is for many today.
Type and remember the name of this style?-
Tutankhamen /Read the page about the young pharaoh and write down a few facts.
Guide 4 is done.
The very last thing – make sure you are well oriented in time and know when the visionary “pharaoh-heretic” lived and created the Amarna style.
See the dates under pictures – 1356, 1344, 1340…Draw a quick timeline and place
these dates on it. If you need to refresh your Chronology skills, look at the Dating Sheet.
Well, that was plenty of information for one guide. I hope it was not too much. I just felt that ancient Egypt was such a great topic, and that there was not that enough information in the book. This guide is the longest one.
How long it took for you (approximately)?
By the way, Akhenaten ruled in the 14th century B.C. and second millennium B.C.
Was your answer right?
Before printing – delete pictures as well as my directions and departures.
Go back to the beginning – scroll down – read the highlighted lines – take the last look at every picture – make sure you remember it – then delete it [point-right click- cut].
Save both versions of guides – with images and without them.
While doing this take the time to quickly review the guide.
Study technique: Reviewing your own notes or outline right after you have finished them, helps you see the big picture and retain information in the most efficient way.
This section is for the most curious….
If you are one of those, and if you still have some energy left, here is a chance to learn more.
You might even be able to make a couple of bonus points – read this and see how.
I invite you to learn about the basics of Egyptian language.
Alphabet (on the left)
Egyptians glyphs are divided into two groups:
Phonograms (represent sounds)
Ideograms (represent objects or ideas)
The Egyptians constructed words by using
a combination of the two types of hieroglyphs.
Example: glyph legs means a noun movement.
When combined with other glyphs, the symbol can
represent the verb to approach,
or the concept “to give directions.”
Take a look at the letter (fragment) below.
It was written over 4000 years ago ….
They say that human nature has not changed in its deep basis, such as love for children, for example. Just think how long ago these lines were written. Amazing, isn’t it…
Hieroglyphs & Champollion
Meeting with Eternity ( Photo 1921) Credit: photography.nationalgeographic.com/photograph…
Remember about this efficient study technique: Have a quick review of the paper you have just completed. The brain is particularly active at this point, and freshly learned information will be easily absorbed and ‘archived’ in the long-term memory. So, take a few minutes to review your guide, enjoy the pictures and focus on your answers. This will make all the difference in depth of learning, believe me.
How long did it take for you to work on this guide?(It can be approximate) – *…
Thank you for your feedback,
– Prof. Nosova
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