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Cultural Snippet
Egyptian culture developed along the
banks of the Nile river more than
3000 B.C.
Religion influenced every part of
Egyptian life.
Pharaohs or Egyptian rulers were
worshiped as gods and pyramids
were built as tombs.
Egyptians believed in life after
death and preserved bodies using

Hieroglyphics & Painting

Sculpture & Architecture

Characteristics of Ancient Egyptian Art

heavily influenced by everyday life, especially religion and life after death
not focused on exact replication, just representations
all art looked similar to preserve a sense of stability amongst the people
The Egyptians strictly upheld the style of frontalism, adhering carefully to stylistic rules
the subject's head is always drawn in profile with the full eye shown
The upper body is depicted from the front and the legs face in the same direction as the
head with one foot in front of the other
The person in the picture sits or stands stiff and rigid in a formal posture, but the face is
calm and usually slightly tilted toward the sky.

Stele of Nefertiabet
From Giza
c. 2590 BC (4th Dynasty)
Painted limestone
H 37.5 m; W 52.5 m

Hieroglyphics and Painting

Besides pyramids and sphinxes,
the Egyptians are known for
hieroglyphics, or a form of
picture writing.
Hieroglyphics use small
pictures which represent
different words, actions, or
Many ancient Egyptian
paintings have survived due to
Egypt's extremely dry climate.
The paintings were often made
with the intent of making a
pleasant afterlife for the
deceased. The themes included

Wall painting of Nefertari

Egypt West Bank Tombs

Ancient Egyptian Architecture

Scant tree growth prevented the extensive use of wood as a building material.
Both sun-dried and kiln-dried bricks were used extensively. Fine sandstone, limestone, and granite
were available for obelisks, sculpture, and decorative uses.

All dwelling houses, built of timber or of sun-baked bricks, have disappeared

Only temples and tombs have survived. Their walls were immensely thick and built using durable
materials like stone
The belief in existence beyond death (reincarnation) resulted in existing architecture of utmost
impressiveness and permanence.
Even during periods of foreign rule, Egyptian architecture clung to its native characteristics, adopting
almost no elements or influence from other cultures.

Egypt, El Giza, Great Pyramid also known as "Pyramid of Cheops" or

"Khufu's Pyramid" 2600-2480 BCE, The base of the pyramid covers
about 13 acres. To build the Great Pyramid it took an about
2,300,000 dressed stone blocks (averaging 2.5 tons each) -- more
than any other structure ever built. The blocks were moved on log
rollers and sledges, and then ramped into place.

Photo, overview of the Sphinx

The Sphinx is another example of a Pharaoh (Khafre)

demonstrating his power.
The massive size and the head of Pharaoh Khafre on the
body of a lion was intended to demonstrate the power of the
Carved from stone at the site and stands at 65 feet tall.

Pharaoh Khafre, c. 2600 B.C.

Diorite. 66 inches tall.

Ancient Egyptian Sculpture

Sculpture In the Round

Statues in the round usually depicted the gods, Pharaohs, or
civic officials, and were composed with special reference to
the maintenance of straight lines
Of the materials used by the Egyptian, stone was the most
plentiful and permanent
Sculpture was often painted in vivid hues as well
Cubic and frontal- echoes in its form the shape of the
stone cube or block from which it was fashioned,
The front of almost every statue is the most important part
and the figure sits or stands facing strictly to the front

Bust of Nefertiti

Seated Man

Seated Scribe

Sebek em hat

The Large Sphinx

Found at Tanis
Pink granite

Relief Sculpture

Virtually all the wall-sculptures of the Ancient Egyptian Empire are in the form of bas-relief (low-relief)

Relief-composition merely meant arranging the figures in horizontal lines so as to record an event or represent an

The principal figures were distinguished from others by their size - gods were shown larger than men, kings larger
than their followers, and the dead larger than the living.

Ancient Egyptian Pottery

Pottery was used by the ancient Egyptians in much the same way we use modern kitchen
containers or plastic,
Two distinct Types
Nile silt ware - Nile clay. After being fired, it has a red-brown color. This type of pottery was used
for common, utilitarian purposes, though at times it might have been decorated or painted. Blue
painted pottery was somewhat common during the New Kingdom (1,550-1,069 BC).
Marl Clay made from material found around Qena in Upper Egypt. This type of pottery was
usually thought superior to the common Nile mud pottery, and so it was often used for decorative
and other functions.

Funerary Masks
& Coffins and

Egyptian, Burial Mask of King

Tutankhamen, gold and inlaid
stones, Cairo Museum, Egypt.

Canopic Jars

The ancient Egyptians placed great importance on the religious significance of certain
sacred objects, which was heavily reflected in their jewelry motifs

Tutanhkamun pendant

Tutanhkamun lapis scarab

19th Dynasty inlaid

diadem, or wig

Video Presentation: :

Ancient Egyptian Style of Art - Why it remained unchanged

for over 3000 years.

Found out more on Ancient Egyptian Art using

these links:
Art of Egypt
The British Museum Ancient Egyptian Exhibition
Ancient Egyptian Civilization