Artwork was constructed to ensure Pharaoh’s good will.
Ka (soul) of the Pharaoh (Ruler of Egypt) was capable of happiness in the after-life if the body was preserved, earthly possessions were placed in the tomb, and paintings and sculptures were there to serve as reminders of who the Pharaoh was.
Because of this, most artwork is funery and followed a strict canon.
PreDynastic and Early Dynastic
Palette-stone slab with a circular depression. Typically utilitarian and used to prepare eye makeup.
Palette of Narmer represents the unification of Egypt. At the top of both sides, the goddess Hathor is represented as a cow with a woman’s face. Top center is the hieroglyphic name of Narmer. It is the first labeled piece of art. On the back, Narmer wears the bowling pin crown of Upper Egypt. Accompanied by a sandal bearer while he slays his enemy. Narmer is barefoot because he stands on sacred ground as a divine king. On the right is Horace, a falcon with human arms taking captive a man-headed hieroglyph (Egyptian letter pictures) with a papyrus growing from it which represents Lower Egypt. On the front, two elongated necks of felines form the circular depression that would have held eye makeup. Intertwined necks show unification. Narmer, in the 2nd register, is the largest and wears the cobra crown of Lower Egypt. He is preceded by 4 standard bearers and a priest. He is followed by his foot washer or sandal bearer. The bottom register shows a bull knocking down a fortress-Narmer knocking down his enemies.
A standard tomb for the pharaoh during the time was the mastabas. Mastabas-single story trapezoidal tombs (places to be buried within).
Imhotep’s Pyramid of King Djoser
Architect of the 3rd Dynasty who created a step pyramid
Most widely used burial method of the middle kingdom. They largely replaced mastabas.
Hollowed out of cliffs with a shallow columnar porch/vestibule which led into a columned hall then into the burial chamber.
Columns had no real purpose.
Walls were decorated with reliefs and paintings and sculptures were set into the walls.
Hatshepsut: Her husband Thutmose II died and since she and he had no male heirs his 12 year old son by another wife was named heir. Hatshepsut was named regent while he was underage but eventually proclaimed herself pharaoh and ruled for two decades.
Mortuary temple-3 colonnaded terraces connected by ramps. Pillars are rectangular. Terraces would have held gardens. Reliefs depict her from birth (Daughter of Amen-Re) to coronation. 1st great tribute to a woman’s achievement in art history.
Lots of statues were created by later destroyed by Thutmose III. She is represented as a male in many of her statues.
Temple of Ramses II
Rock cut tomb
4 colossal images of himself on the façade.
Interior housed 32 foot pillars of Ramses II as Osiris-the god of order.
Threw out the old canon and figures now had heavy lids, effeminate bodies, and bigger lips, along with a stomach pouch.
Akenhaton’s wife was the famously beautiful Nefertiti.
Post Amarna Period
Tutankhamen- transitional figure for a return to the traditional religion and conventions of art. He moved the capital back to Thebes. His throne revealed his birthname-Tutankaton. His tomb was discovered intact in 1922 by Howard Carter. He was a minor figure in his time. He took the throne at around age 9 and ruled til about age 19, when he died. He was buried in 3 interstacked coffins, the innermost the most ornate.
Last Judgment of Hu Nefer
Anubus (jackal headed) god of embalming weighs Hu Nefer’s heart against Moat’s feather.
Ammit (hippo and lion) the devourer of the sinful awaits the judgment.