Hello readers, i am really very much delighted to welcome you all to the fourth successful episode of Design history. In the previous three episodes we saw paleolithic, mesolithic and neolithic design concepts and their characteristicks. These paleolithic, mesolithic and neolithic design concepts were developed during the prehistoric period.

From this episode onwards we are going into ancient period. During this period there were lots of design concepts developed and existed parallely all around the world. Some of the most influencial and till date existing design concepts are:-

1. Egyptian art
2. Mesopotomian art
3. Persian art
4. Aegean art
5. Greece
6. Etruscan
7. Rome

In this episode we are going to see about the Egyptian art.

The history of Ancient Egypt, long more than 3000 years, is divided into 8 or 9 periods, sometimes called Kingdoms. The Ancient Egyptians themselves rather seem to have developed the notion of dynasties throughout their history. It developed along the river Nile, in Eastern Africa. The importance of religion and the respect for death ruled their art.


These were the kingdoms or dynasyties that existed in the Egyptian history:-
1. Pre-Dynastic and Early Dynastic Period (3500-3000 B.C.)
2. The Old Kingdom (2700-2200 B.C.)
3. The Middle Kingdom (2050-1800 B.C.)
4. Late Period (after 1080 B.C.)
Influence/Inspiration of Egyptian art:-
The Egyptians were influenced by many things. Their religion and beliefs were shown in most of their paintings. Paintings had pictures of gods and goddesses doing different activities. Colored portraits made predictions of the afterlife they believed in. Nature and everyday activities were main subjects too.
They made art for gods, kings and queens, and for the dead in their tombs. Their beliefs and religion were often drawn on paintings like their predictions of what the afterlife was like, or pictures of gods doing certain things. Egyptian art was very delicate and beautiful.

Concept of Egyptian Art:-
Paintings that decorated the walls of the tombs in Egypt were intended to keep alive the history. The pictures and models found in Egyptian tombs were connected with the idea of providing the soul with helpmates in the other world. These wall-paintings provide in extraordinarily vivid picture of life as it was lived in Egypt thousands of years ago. And yet, looking at the art for the first time, may find rather look strange. What mattered most was not prettiness but completeness. It was the artists’ task to preserve everything as clearly and permanently as possible. So they did not set out to sketch nature as it appeared to them from any fortuitous angle. They drew from memory, according to strict rules which ensured that everything that had to go into the picture would stand out in perfect clarity.
Characteristics of Egyptian Art:-
The combination of geometric regularity and keen observation of nature is characteristic of all Egyptian arts. Everything had to be represented from its most characteristic angle. Egyptian crafts in all the statues, paintings, jewelry and pottery seem to fall into place as if they obeyed one law. No one wanted anything different, no one asked him to be ‘original’. On the contrary, he was probably considered the best artist who could make his artistic work most like the admired crafts of the past. Everything that was considered good and beautiful in the age of the pyramids was held to be just as excellent a thousand years later, the mode of representing man and nature remained essentially the same through thousands of years.
Techniques of Egyptian Art:-
– Frontalism – strict rules
– The image was frequently identified by inscription, resemblance with the depicted was not necessary, infirmities and old age are rarely shown. Most images are glowing examples of prosperity, youth, and good health.
– The head of the character was always drawn in profile, while the body is seen from the front.
– Although the face is to the side, the eye is drawn in full.
– The legs are turned to the same side as the head, with one foot placed in front of the other.
– The head is at right angles to the body.
– Every figure in paintings, stands or sits with a formal, stiff, and rigid posture. The stance of the body is severe, but the faces are calm and serene.
– Slaves and animals were painted more natural and relaxed, and with a smaller scale in drawings to show their limited importance.
– There was little attempt at plastic or spatial illusionism – no attempt at linear perspective.
– artists made colors from raw materials around them and therefore worked in a limited number of shades.
– Color was applied in flat tones – strict rules often applied to the use of a particular color for particular purpose. For example, men’s skin was colored red while women’s was yellow.
Symbolism:-
Symbolism also played an important role in establishing a sense of order. Symbolism, ranging from the pharaoh’s regalia (symbolizing his power to maintain order) to the individual symbols of Egyptian gods and goddesses, is omnipresent in Egyptian art. Animals were usually also highly symbolic figures in Egyptian art. Colors were more expressive rather than natural: red skin implied vigorous tanned youth, whereas yellow skin was used for women or middle-aged men who worked indoors; blue or gold indicated divinity because of its unnatural appearance and association with precious materials; the use of black for royal figures expressed the fertility of the Nile from which Egypt was born. Stereotypes were employed to indicate the geographical origins of foreigners.

Subjects of Egyptian Art:-
– Religious scenes
– Military scenes
– Daily life scenes
Media of Egyptian Art:-
-Papyrus
-Walls of tombs and temples
Artists of Egyptian Art:-
– Ordinary craftsmen
– No individual artist with creativity talents – imitation and strict adherence to rules required
Amarna art:-
The Ancient Egyptian art style known as Amarna Art was a style of art that was adopted in the Amarna Period (i.e. during and just after the reign of Akhenaten in the late Eighteenth Dynasty), and is noticeably different from more conventional Egyptian art styles.
It is characterized by a sense of movement and activity in images, with figures having raised heads, many figures overlapping and many scenes busy and crowded. Also, the human body is portrayed differently in Amarna style artwork than Egyptian art on the whole. For instance, many depictions of Akhenaten’s body give him distinctly feminine qualities, such as large hips, prominent breasts, and a larger stomach and thighs. This is a divergence from the earlier Egyptian art which shows men with perfectly chiseled bodies. Faces are still shown exclusively in profile.
The illustration of hands and feet was obviously thought to be important. They were shown with long and slender fingers, and great pains were gone to show fingers and finger nails. Flesh was shown as being dark brown, for both males and females (contrasted with the more normal dark brown for males and light brown for females) – this could merely be convention, or depict the ‘life’ blood. Figures are now shown with both a left and a right foot, contrasting the tradition of being shown with either two left or two right feet.
Still,Egypt has its beautiful and delicate art. Going to museums will help us to discover and learn more ancient art from Egypt. You can look in tombs to see wall carvings, ancient pottery, and stone statues. You never know, there may still be some new and undiscovered pieces of art. Maybe you will find something too. Egyptian art is loved by many people because of its mystery and wonderful colors. It can be admired still today.

history will continue . . .


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