Egypt Arts Part III

This tendency was counteracted by the Amarna period, which generally meant a deep turning point. Amenophis IV./Echnaton (around 1351 / 50–1334) returned to more human dimensions in measurements, combined with a highly expressive design of the human body. The king was no longer depicted in sublime divinity, but in the intimacy of his family life, in dealing with his wife and daughters; the abundance of depictions of gods disappeared in favor of the one god Aton, embodied in the symbol of the radiant sun. The liberation from previously applicable conventions resulted in a loosening of forms and expressions, which continued to have an effect beyond the Amarna period. Evidence for a softened, less expressive phase of Amarna art is v. a. the grave treasure of Tutankhamun.

Ever since Ahmose (Abydos) – but only survived in large numbers since Seti I  - historical scenes were included in the pictorial program of the temples, for example, under Ramses II (1279–1213 BC) depictions of the battle of Kadesh (against the Hittites), under Ramses III. the fighting against Libyans and Sea Peoples. In contrast, the scenes of daily life in the graves were replaced by a purely religious theme.

The immense building activity of Ramses II. (Great Hall of Columns in Karnak, Ramesseum, rock temple of Abu Simbel) and the mass production of statues of kings and gods led to the imitation of older buildings and sculptures in the later Ramesside period.

Third intermediate time (around 1070 / 69–664 BC): In the 21st dynasty (1070–945 BC) the more modest economic and political possibilities forced a rethink. Decorated graves were abandoned, but the coffins were completely painted as a replacement, using the abundance of religious motifs from previous grave paintings. In sculpture, the stone was replaced by metal; the works from the heyday of the great bronzes (22nd dynasty) led to the abundance of gods and animals bronzes of the late period. The economic weakness, combined with the political change in the Libyan era, had among other things. the abandonment of the quarry expeditions as a result, whereby the construction with adobe bricks increased again. It was not until the 25th dynasty of the Kushites that stone was built again on a larger scale and used for a new, expressive sculpture.

Late period (664–332 BC), Ptolemaic times (323–30 BC) and Roman times (until 395 AD): While Egyptian art had already tried again and again to orient its design to earlier heydays, this tendency increased in the late period, BC. a. in the 26th and 30th dynasties, up to the perfect imitation of older works (archaism). Ancient text templates were also copied with great fidelity. All the great religious themes of the past have been handed down again, especially in the multi-room tomb palaces, which were again built in Thebes during the 26th dynasty. From the Nile Delta, the political focus of the 26th to 30th dynasties, only a few architectural monuments have survived due to the high groundwater level. In contrast, the large numbers of sculptural works that have come down to us show how the new impulses of the Cushite rulers continued in the priestly heads and portraits of rulers and merged almost seamlessly into the portrait heads of the Hellenistic and Roman times. In addition, there are very traditional sculptures, cube stools, bronze of gods and animals, especially cats (especially venerated as a sacred animal of Bastet since the 22nd / 23rd dynasty).

According to franciscogardening, the time of Persian rule (525–404 BC) left only a few traces in Egyptian art. But after the Persians were driven out with the help of Greek mercenaries, it came in the 4th century BC. To attempts to merge Egyptian and Greek sense of form; this mixed style occurs in the Hellenistic tombs, among others. by Tuna el-Djebel (near Hermopolis Magna; Petosiris tomb) and later in the new metropolis of Alexandria. In the Ptolemaic and Roman times of Egypt, buildings and sculptures were also made in a purely Hellenistic or purely Egyptian style, depending on requirements. The priesthood as the guardian of the traditions put the new foreign rulers in the religiously necessary role of the pharaoh and continued to build the temples of the country in their name;

The temple complexes of the Ptolemaic and Roman times (Idfu, Dendera, Kom Ombo, Philae, Isna etc.) not only have an impact due to their particularly good preservation, but also due to the harmony of their proportions, the colorfulness of their reliefs and the attractive plant columns with their composite capitals different elements (mixed style).

The importance of the late period, the Ptolemaic rule and the Roman period for art lies v. a. in their mediating role. Egyptian forms and motifs had an effect on Syrian art, now on the Greeks and Romans and finally on the early Christian art of the Copts. Egyptian creations such as the pyramid, obelisk and sphinx have become indispensable in the general history of art, and the conciseness of the form as well as the abandonment of the pure visual image gave modern art new impulses.

Coptic-Byzantine art remained an independent phenomenon of Egyptian art (Coptic art) beyond late antiquity until the 9th century AD, until Islamic art soon replaced it with the suppression of Christianity by Islam after 900.

Egypt Arts 3

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