Egyptian Art Painting

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1 Egyptian Art A lot of what we know about the Ancient Egyptians comes from their art. From the many pieces of art they created we can learn things like what they looked like, what kind of clothes they wore, what jobs they worked, and what they considered important. The civilization of Ancient Egypt ruled the land of the Nile for over 3,000 years. Surprisingly enough, their art changed little during that time. Much of the artwork created by the Ancient Egyptians had to do with their religion. They would fill the tombs of the Pharaohs with paintings and sculptures. Most of this artwork was there to help the Pharaohs in the afterlife. Temples were another popular place for art. The temples often held large statues of their gods as well as many paintings on the walls. Painting In Ancient Egypt the tomb walls of the rich and powerful were often filled with paintings. The paintings were never meant to be seen by human eyes after the tombs were closed. The Egyptians painted the walls and ceilings in the belief that the one who had passed would be able to take all of the images of their life with them and only the deceased and the Egyptian gods would ever see the paintings.

2 Egyptian painters used an art style called frontalism, which shoed people in a 2 dimensional perspective. Egyptian artists believed a flat perspective portrayed people as clearly as possible. Painters had to follow clear rules for their artwork. The figures had to be properly proportioned or the gods wouldn t be pleased. To ensure these sacred design ratios, a draftsman first drew a grid over the work surface. Each object or element in a scene was painted from its most recognizable angle and these were then grouped together to create the whole. This is why images of people show their face, waist, and limbs in profile (looking to the side), but eye and shoulders were seen from head-on. The figures head was always drawn in profile with the eye fully drawn, as if it is peering at you. The chest and shoulders must be seen from head-on, while the hips are in mid-twist. Arms, hands, legs and feet must be clearly shown Difference in scale was the most commonly used method for showing importance. The larger the scale of the figures, the more important they were. Kings were often shown at the same scale as gods, but both are shown larger than the elite and far larger than the average Egyptian. The paint that the Egyptians used was colored or dyed using minerals that were naturally found in their area. The colors and all of the objects found in tombs were preserved due to the cool dry environment and that s why we can see them today with such bright tones. Artists would grind the minerals into a fine dust and then mix them with a kind of glue made from animals or plants. Each color that the ancient Egyptians had special meaning, significance and symbolism. Colors were often used purely as symbolism, rather tan for realistic accuracy of a subject. Blue represented the sky, water, the heavens, the ancient flood and both rebirth and creation Red was the color of fire, anger, life, chaos, victory and hostility. Yellow represented eternal, imperishable, indestructible Green was the color of vegetation, growth, joy, fertility, new life and regeneration White is the color of cleanliness, power, purity, simplicity Black represented death, the night and the Afterlife Gold represented royalty, strength and power

3 Carvings/Relief Ancient Egyptians sometimes decorated tombs and monuments with carvings called reliefs. A thin layer of plaster was spread over the wall, polished, and smoothed. The sculptor used a large, wooden mallet and a copper or bronze chisel to make the carving. There were two types of reliefs: raised reliefs and sunken reliefs. When creating a raised relief, the sculptor chiseled away the parts of the stone around the image. This made the image stand out. To create a sunken relief, the sculpture carved away the image, leaving the background higher than the picture. Egyptians often combined the two styles when decorating tombs and monuments.

4 Sculpture The Egyptians are famous for their giant works of sculptures. Some examples of this include the Great Sphinx of Giza and the statues of Ramses II at the Abu Simbel temples. The statues of Ramses II are each over 60 feet tall. The Sphinx at Giza is over 240 feet long! Although they are famous for their giant statues, the Egyptians also carved smaller, more ornate sculptures. They used various materials including alabaster, ivory, limestone, basalt, wood gilded with gold, and sometimes even solid gold. Another example of the intricate work of Ancient Egyptian sculpture is the funerary mask of a pharaoh named Tutankhamen. The expression on his face is the same used to convey the look of all the pharaohs throughout the history of Egypt. The coloring of the collar is made with semiprecious stones and the stripes on the headdress are made with blue glass. The rest of the mask is made from twenty-four pounds of solid gold!

5 Hieroglyphics The Ancient Egyptians used picture words to write called hieroglyphics. It is a very old form of writing that they starting using as early as 3,000 B.C. Hieroglyphics was a very complicated way of writing involving thousands of symbols. Some of the symbols represented sounds, like our letters, and others represented entire words. Hieroglyphics was different from how we write in many ways: It could be written in almost any direction; left to right, right to left, or top to bottom. The reader would figure out which way to read it by the direction of the symbols. They didn't use any punctuation. One of the goals in writing hieroglyphics was that the writing would look like art and be beautiful to look at. A single picture symbol could stand for a whole word, called an ideogram, or a sound, called a phonogram. For example, a picture of an eye could mean the word "eye" or the letter "I".

6 Jewelry & Pattern Although the clothing of the Ancient Egyptians was simple and plain, they made up for it with elaborate jewelry. All Egyptians valued jewelry such as necklaces, pendants, cuff bracelets and amulets. However, it was mostly wealthy Egyptians that could afford to wear jewelry made from shiny gold or precious gems and so such jewelry became associated with power, wealth and status. Precious and semi-precious gems such as emeralds, pearls, lapis lazuli, amethyst and turquoise were often inlaid into lavish pieces of Egyptian jewelry. The Egyptians wore their jewelry in life and in death as many pieces were entombed with them during burials. One popular item of jewelry was the neck collar. Neck collars were made of bright beads or jewels and were worn on special occasions. Their designs used pattern, symmetry and geometric shapes.

7 Interesting Facts about Ancient Egyptian Art They mostly used the colors blue, black, red, green, and gold in their paintings. A lot of Egyptian art depicted the pharaohs. This was often in a religious sense as the pharaohs were considered gods. Many of the paintings of Ancient Egypt survived for so many thousands of years because of the extremely dry climate of the area. Small carved models were sometimes included inside tombs. These included slaves, animals, boats, and buildings that the person may need in the afterlife. A majority of the art hidden in tombs was stolen by thieves over thousands of years.

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