(12). Depictions of members of Egypt’s lower classes in paintings also became more frequent than previously. This is not to say the Egyptians had no sense of aesthetic beauty. The concept of "art for art's sake" was unknown and, further, would have probably been incomprehensible to an ancient Egyptian who understood art as functional above all else. These different districts also found they had more disposable income since they were not sending as much to Memphis. Egyptologist Gay Robins notes: As far as we know, the ancient Egyptians had no word that corresponded exactly to our abstract use of the word 'art'. Their close relationship is established by the color of their skin, which is the same. The much-heralded Narmer Palette illustrates the advances in artistic expression achieved during the Early Dynastic Period (c. 3150-c.2613 BCE). An individual’s name and image needed to survive on earth for their soul to continue on its journey to the Field of Reeds.eval(ez_write_tag([[250,250],'givemehistory_com-leader-1','ezslot_4',115,'0','0'])); Egyptian art ran the gamut of monumental statuary, decorative personal ornamentation, elaborated carved temples and vividly painted tomb complexes. This is the time of Tutankhamun’s golden death mask and grave goods and Nefertiti’s iconic bust.eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'givemehistory_com-medrectangle-4','ezslot_7',111,'0','0'])); This burst of New Kingdom creative excellence was stimulated in part by the adoption of Hittite advanced metalworking techniques, which flowed through into the production of outstanding weaponry and funerary objects. Critics claim that the Egyptians never seem 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. Access to the garden from the house was via a portico of ornate columns. All of these would have been arranged carefully to tell a tale which was significant to the owner. Other inscriptions and artwork make clear that they spent most of their time together and the artist expresses this through their shared skin tones; Ankhesenamun is just as sun-tanned as Tutankhamun. Throughout its long history, however, Egyptian art never lost focus on its functional role in Egyptian culture. Surviving statues of wood are rare but several were preserved and show phenomenal technical skills.eval(ez_write_tag([[336,280],'givemehistory_com-banner-1','ezslot_3',113,'0','0'])); Given the cost and complexity associated with casting metal firing ancient times, metal figurines and personal jewellery were small-scale and cast from bronze, copper, gold and occasionally silver. The art of Egypt is the story of the elite, the ruling class. Art would flourish during the Middle Kingdom of Egypt (2040-1782 BCE) which is generally considered the high point of Egyptian culture. Ancient Egyptian art was about more than beauty. Each and every design, motif, image and detail communicated something to its owner. The importance of symmetry is evident in the composition which features the heads of four bulls (a symbol of power) at the top of each side and balanced representation of the figures which tell the story. Egyptian tombs, furniture, chariots and even their gardens were bursting with symbolism and decoration. Wooden statues were carved in sections before being pegged or glued together. Egyptian paint has proved to be so durable that many examples remain brilliantly vibrant after more than 4,000 years. We have also been recommended for educational use by the following publications: Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation is a non-profit organization registered in Canada. He amuses himself in his down time by writing. The greatest artworks of the Old Kingdom are the Pyramids and Great Sphinx of Giza which still stand today but more modest monuments were created with the same precision and beauty. In applying a relief, the surface of the wall was first smoothed over with plaster, which was then sanded. It was Egypt’s most prosperous time and marked the peak of its power. by Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin (CC BY-NC-SA). For only $5 per month you can become a member and support our mission to engage people with cultural heritage and to improve history education worldwide. While the Old Kingdom was a period of internal security and prosperity, it was followed by a period of disunity and relative cultural decline referred to by Egyptologists as the First Intermediate Period.