Ancient | Egypt
Ancient Egyptian art refers to the style of painting, sculpture, crafts and architecture developed by the civilization in the lower Nile Valley from 5000 BC to 300 AD.
Ancient Egyptian art was expressed in paintings and sculptures was both highly stylized and symbolic. Much of the surviving art comes from tombs and monuments and thus there is an emphasis on life after death and the preservation of knowledge of the past.
Testimony to the intense cultural activity that characterized the predynastic period (с.5000-З00вс) exists in the form of "palettes". These slate slabs, often decorated in relief, are thought to have been used originally for grinding pigments for eyepaint. By the Late Predynastic period, they had taken on a celebratory, official character, and their decoration was inspired by specific historical events. The palette of Narmer was a symbol of power and may have commemorated the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt. Its creation heralded the beginning of the historical age, subdivided traditionally into dynasties, in which the pharaoh was the emblem of political and religious power. The compositional elements found in the palette of Narmer were to remain constant in Egyptian art: the division of the background into registers, the greater dimensions given to the figure of the sovereign, and the pictorial value of certain images. The falcon is the personification of the king seizing the Nile Delta (Lower Egypt), which is represented by a papyrus with a human head. Objects are presented as they are conceived, not as they are seen.
The Egyptian artist aimed to reflect social and religious hierarchies in the composition and to assign proportions to the figures and objects whose relationships to one another were constant. For example, the pharaoh-god was greater than man and therefore had to be shown as such. The age of the first and second dynasties (с.2850-2б50вс) saw the birth of monumental architecture, including the first mastabas - flat-topped tombs with sloping sides - and pyramids. During this period, the pharaohs had two royal cemeteries, one at Abydos, the other at Memphis; architectural elements from both sites have survived. From these seeds developed the awe-inspiring art of the Old Kingdom, third to sixth dynasties (с.2б50-2150вс).