Art Historian Book
Art Historian Book
The first historical evidence of a culture can be found in the artifacts of the earliest homo sapiens from 35,000 years ago. Every time period in the history of the world has offered something special to the world of art. From the ancient Egyptians to the Middle Ages to the Renaissance to today. We can look about and marvel at the greatness of the artist from our past.
The ancient Egyptian civilization developed slowly from about 5000 B.C.E to 3100 B.C.E. Egyptian history is traditionally divided into about 30 dynasties. The dynasties are then divided into several major periods: the Old Kingdom, the Middle Kingdom, and the New Kingdom or Empire (Benton & DiYanni, 2008). The art of Egypt has remained remarkably consistent in style over three millennia.
“Egypt's Old Kingdom (Dynasties 3–6, ca. 2649–2150 B.C.) was one of the most dynamic periods in the development of Egyptian art,” (Roehrig, 2013). During this time period, they had accomplished their grandest achievement, the great pyramids. The Old kingdom was a time of political and social stability and because of that stability they were able to create one of the largest landmarks in the world. There are many theories as to how the great pyramids were constructed. Some theorized that the pyramids were built by extraterrestrials or that they Egyptians had the technology to build these massive monuments. Researchers have estimated that about 20,000 to 30,000 laborers were needed in order to complete the Great Pyramids at Giza (Penn State University , 2008). Because the pharaoh was considered to be so divine and would then return to the gods when he died, the pyramids were designed to soar to heaven. Most of ancient Egyptian architecture found today is made of stone. Having such an abundant amount of stone available would explain why such great proportions of these building are still standing (Penn State University , 2008). Limestone and sandstone were used from many other works of art than just the Great pyramids. For example, the bust of the beautiful Queen Nefertiti was also made from limestone and then painted. Along with another great architecture achievement made from sandstone, the Great Sphinx.
The Great Sphinx was built in 2500 B.C.E and has become a national symbol. The Great Sphinx was built to guard the pyramids at Chefren at Giza. A sphinx is a mythical creature with the body of the lion and the head of a human, it is a majestic and monumental symbol of the kings strength. The scale of the monument indicates not only the power of the king, but also that Egyptians love of enormous proportions. In Egypt, there are numerous copies of the sphinx, usually with the head of a king wearing his headdress (Winston, n.d.). The Great Sphinx is also a reflection of the Egyptian’s desire for immortality and their belief in the afterlife. The Sphinx does not only appear in ancient Egypt but it also appears in Classical Greek Mythology in the story of Oedipus. Winston (n.d.), “It has stirred the imagination of poets, scholars, adventurers and tourists for centuries and has also inspired a wealth of speculation about its age, its meaning, and the secrets that it might hold” (para.1).
When a pharaoh, or king, dies there is a long process that takes places before he is finally laid to rest in a royal tomb. During the ritual mummification process, four canopic jars are used. These jars were used to hold the soft internal organs while the body of the dead was being mummified. Each jar lid or stopper was shaped into the heads of one of the minor funerary deities known as the Four Sons of HORUS (Museum of Mythology, n.d.). According to Museum of Mythology (n.d.), “The baboon-headed Hapy guarded the lungs. The human-headed Imsety was the guardian of the liver. Jackal-headed Duamutef guarded the stomach and upper intestines and falcon-headed Qebehsenuef guarded the lower intestines” (para.5). The