The Egyptian Style Art Like the Building Blocks of Greek and Roman Art Styles

It was over five thousand years ago that the Egyptians developed their concept of art. Their art was magnificent compared to others from the way they signified their pharaohs in their art. They also made huge sculptures over the three thousand-year periods of various gods they believed in. They began to record, and express their thoughts, religions, philosophies, and traditions through their art. Throughout the Egyptian era and many dynasties, you can see that their artwork and sculptures are consistent and hardly changed throughout time. The Egyptian art was intentional; the Egyptians realized they were true, they saw that they were secure, spiritual harmony, and clear evidence that their philosophy with art was right, little did they know their art would be used almost as the building blocks for Greek and Roman art.

A great deal of Egyptian imagery was still satisfactorily coherent throughout history. Such as “ The earliest royal monuments, such as the Narmer Palette carved around 3100 B.C.E., display identical royal costumes and poses as those seen on later rulers, even Ptolemaic kings on their temples 3000 years later”. This is why their art seems to be incredibly static, especially to the untrained eye, and in terms of images, movements, and the way the body is made. This consistency has been linked to a fundamental belief in the influence of representations beyond the image itself. A great example of this would be “tomb scenes of the deceased receiving food, or temple scenes of the king performing perfect rituals for the gods—were functionally causing those things to occur in the divine realm”. The Egyptians were so obsessed with keeping consistency with their art style that “The earliest recorded tourist graffiti on the planet came from a visitor from the time of Ramses II who left their appreciative mark at the already 1300-year-old site of the Step Pyramid at Saqqara, the earliest of the massive royal stone monuments”. The Egyptians were impressed by the works of their ancestors and made it their mission to continue their legacy.

The Egyptians believed in eternity within their art that is why it is very strongly consistent over the next three thousand years. They were so passionate about their art it was almost like a never-ending life. Their art was so powerful that “The depictions aren't just pretty pictures, they're part of the language”. Every single ancient Egyptian art piece has its own story to tell, it may even look familiar to an art piece that was created a hundred years ago that's why the link of Egyptian art is so strong. Their artwork has no phonetic value but tells you something more general about the world. A perfect example would be how “Leg determinatives relate to movement, hills have to do with the land, and men and women come after names, professions, or other words relating to people”. This shows that their artwork has a lot more symbolic meaning hidden within. Egyptian art is very static this has to do with what the Egyptians considered the intent of their carvings, drawings, and sculptures to be. This is because “There are no artists in Egypt. The ideal is to copy the sculptures that were originally made by the god Ptah, who invented the sculpture”. For example, the classic depiction of the seated king can be found in virtually every Dynasty. The pose is the same, as is the idealization of the important figure's appearance. Rulers always appear young and beautiful but nondescript and clothed. Especially when it came to the Pharaohs for every dynasty, it was almost like a prehistoric filter for their paintings and sculptures of themselves.

The Egyptian style of art was so stable and influential in its ways and style that it became the building blocks of Greek and Roman art styles. We are taught in Western artworks to believe that bigger items are near to the spectator, although the whole image is flat in fact. That type of artificial viewpoint was not used by ancient Egyptians. Rather, the hieratic scale was used to show the meaning using the dimension. People, queens, and priests are shown larger than anybody. Although statues and works of art from Egypt which depict figures as static that appear stereotypical, they were purposely made to look like that. The reason for this is because “Without motion, they can exist outside the realm of time”. In this way, they contrast the art of Ancient Greece, where sculptures strived for a more motion-like style in their statues like the infamous discus thrower. Throughout all these eras, the types of art were as numerous as a human needs, the resources to make them, and the ability to pay for them. The wealthy of Egypt had ornate hand mirrors, cosmetic cases and jars, jewelry, decorated scabbards for knives and swords, intricate bows, sandals, furniture, chariots, gardens, and tombs. Every aspect of any of these creations had symbolic meaning. An example of this would be “the bull motif on the Narmer Palette symbolized the power of the king, so every image, design, ornamentation, or detail meant something relating to its owner”. Egyptians took great pride in their artwork as you can see. The Old Kingdom artwork and architecture are highly valued in the middle and new kingdoms of the Egyptian era. A great example of this would be the pyramids and the Great Sphinx of Giza which still stand today.

In conclusion, Egyptian art has made an everlasting impact on all those who see it. People might criticize their artwork for being static. People might also say that Egyptians never seemed to have mastered perspective as there is no interplay of light and shadow in the compositions, they are always two-dimensional, and the figures are emotionless. Egyptians understood emotional states can change in an instance. This is what makes Egyptian art so unique and different compared to The Greeks and Romans however, they did place the base and roots for their art styles. In Egyptian culture, a person's name and image had to survive in some form on earth in order for the soul to continue its journey. This is why they never seemed to want to change their style of art because they took to much pride in what they believed in and what they thought was appropriate. This is why their art style canon did not change over their three thousand-year eras, all artwork being similar to the Old Kingdom. 

07 July 2022
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