Presentation on theme: "Ancient Egyptian Sculpture Kevin J. Benoy. Ancient Egyptian Sculpture Like painting and low- relief carving, sculptures were generally carved in particular."— Presentation transcript:
Ancient Egyptian Sculpture Kevin J. Benoy
Ancient Egyptian Sculpture Like painting and low- relief carving, sculptures were generally carved in particular styles that changed little over most of Ancient Egyptian History.
Purpose As with all cultures, Ancient Egyptian sculpture met both symbolic and decorative needs. –Sculptural forms served religious & funerary purposes. –It could also be meant to decorate or entertain.
Purpose Funerary sculptural pieces are particularly impressive. The cover of the coffin of Tutankhamen, a minor pharaoh, was 250 lbs of gold, inlaid with enamel and semi precious stones.
Material Items could be made of wood or stone. Items meant to be permanent – like the statue that was to house the ka or spirit of a pharaoh, would made of the hardest available stone (such as granite, basalt or porphyry) and be exceptionally durable – probably accounting for the survival of so man ancient objects.
Material Quartz was often inlaid in eyes to give them luster.
The System Frontal views dominate in sculpture, possibly because sculptors were also involved in architectural carving – where the image was engaged to, or closely bound to, the building.
The System Heads are always placed on the axis of the bust.
The System Faces are usually expressionless, though female figures appear more alive than males.
The System High figures – the gods and goddesses and kings and queens (who are deified) are shown only in dignified poses – though females may display tender gestures.
The System Figures of commoners could be very naturalistic in presentation – even when they were funerary items in phaoronic tombs. Such figures provided the dead leader with servants to work for him in the afterlife. Commoners were always shown working. A female brewer
The System. Figures were often scaled according to importance – as was done with painting and low relief carving. The larger the figure, the more important.
The System Statues were originally painted. –Males are darker and reddish. –Females are lighter and yellowish.
The System Carving seems to have begun with sketches on the side and front of the stone block. From these front and side views, the sculptor carved inward until they met. The back of the sculpture was often left as a flat surface. Stone tools were generally used, but detail work might be carved with copper or bronze tools. Saws with jeweled teeth were sometimes employed and even the hardest stone sculptures could be polished with crushed sandstone and emery.
The System Figures are most often seated on chairs or standing with one leg slightly in front of the other
Busts Busts were not uncommon. These are generally thought to be cheaper substitutes for full figures.
Scale Figures could be very small. Or they could be monumentally large.
Smaller sphinxes at Karnak
The Amarna Period Akhenaton (Amenhotep IV), BC, introduced radical changes in Egyptian religion and employed art as a tool to emphasize it. The established Canon, or system, was cast aside as more fluid forms were adopted.
The Amarna Period Physical features of the subjects are greatly exaggerated – even when the subject is royal – such as Akhenaton himself, or one of his queens.
The Amarna Period The radical designs of the Amarna period did not last much beyond Akhenaton’s reign. It was rejected when religious orthodoxy returned, as can be seen in the sculpture from Tutankhamun’s tomb.
Greek Influence The conquest of Egypt by Alexander the Great did not end Egyptian sculptural traditions, but it did change it. Traditional forms mixed with Greek ones in an interesting fusion.
Greek Influence Note the Egyptian formality and presence of hieroglyphs, but the expressive Greek face of this figure of Cleopatra.
The End The Greek-Roman fusion continued into the Roman period as the Eastern Mediterranean retained its Hellenistic influence even after the fall of the Western Roman Empire. However, the coming of Christianity brought an end to old Egyptian beliefs and to traditional artistic forms. Sculpture and other realistic art forms virtually disappeared in the Byzantine period, replaced by highly stylized and symbolic art.