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04 the art of mesopotamia and egypt


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04 the art of mesopotamia and egypt

  1. 1. The Art of Mesopotamia and Egypt In Art: A Brief History, 2nd ed. (2004) by Marilyn Stokstad
  3. 3. Introduction Mesopotamia Egypt • Tigris and Euphrates • Agriculture: basis of wealth • Kingship: government • Religion: central role in government and daily life • Few natural defenses • Repeated invasions and internal conflicts • Nile • Agricultures: basis of wealth • Kingship: government • Religion: central role in government and daily life • Mountains and deserts • Remained a unified state for some 3,000 years
  4. 4. Introduction Mesopotamia Egypt • Pictographs – simple pictures that represent a thing or concept • Phonograms – representations of the sounds of syllables • Cuneiform – Latin “wedge-shaped;” named after the shape of the marks made by the stylus • Hieroglyphs – earliest Egyptian writing system which employed symbols • Hieratic writing – shorthand version of hieroglyphs • Demotic writing – 18th C; from demos, “the people;” less formal and easy to master
  5. 5. Cuneiform Symbols evolved from pictures into phonograms thus becoming a true writing system.
  6. 6. Hieroglyphs Used in combinations, such phonogramic hieroglyphs were especially useful in rendering foreign names.
  8. 8. Mesopotamia • Means “between the rivers” • Developed around 3500 BCE into independently governed city-states • Sumerians, Akkadians, Babylonians, Assyrians
  9. 9. Mesopotamia: Sumerians • Invented the wagon wheel and the plow • First to cast objects in copper and bronze • Invented a system of writing, cuneiform, between 3300 and 3000 BCE • Ziggurat – stepped pyramidal structures with a temple or shrine on top
  10. 10. Anu Ziggurat and White Temple The Anu Ziggurat, Uruk (modern Warka, Iraq). c. 3100 BC. This was built up in stages over centuries, rising to a height of about 40 feet. (reconstruction drawing)
  11. 11. Cone Mosaics A decoration invented at Uruk. This decorates the courtyards and interior walls of the Inanna and the Anu Compounds.
  12. 12. Carved Vase From Uruk. c. 3500-3000 BCE. Alabaster, height 91 cm. Iraq Museum, Baghdad. Design shows the ritual marriage between the goddess and a human.
  13. 13. Nanna Ziggurat Located in Ur (modern Muqaiyir, Iraq), c. 2100-2050 BCE. A mud-brick ziggurat dedicated to the moon god Nanna.
  14. 14. Mesopotamia: Sumerians • Sculpture was associated with religion • Large statues were commonly placed in temples as objects of devotion • Votive figures – small statues that individual worshippers identified as portraits of themselves
  15. 15. Votive Statues From the Square Temple Eshunna (modern Tell Amar, Iraq), c. 2900-2600 BCE. Limestone alabaster, and gypsum, height of largest figure approx. 76.3 cm. The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago; Iraq Museum, Baghdad.
  16. 16. Bull Lyre From the tomb of Queen Pu-abi, Ur (modern Muqaiyar, Iraq), c. 2680 BCE. Wood with gold, lapis lazuli, and shell, reassembled in modern wood support. University Museum, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.
  17. 17. Mythological Figures Detail of the sound box of the bull lyre from the tomb of Queen Pu-abi, Ur (modern Muqaiyir, Iraq), c. 2680 BCE. Wood with shell inlay, 31.1x11cm. University Museum, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. The top and the bottom registers – bands – seem to illustrate scenes that are found in the epic of Gilgamesh, a 3,000-line Sumerian epic poem.
  18. 18. Mesopotamia: Sumerians • Developed flat stamps and more elaborate cylinder-form seals for securing and identifying documents and signaling property ownership • Cylinder seals – usually less than 2 inches high; made of hard and/or semiprecious stones with designs incised into the surface
  19. 19. Cylinder Seal From Sumer and its impression, c. 2500 BCE. Marble, height approx. 4.5 cm. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. (Gift of Walter Hauser, 1955)
  20. 20. Mesopotamia: Akkadians • Warring invaders who settled the area north of Uruk (near modern Baghdad) • Spoke a Semitic language • Sargon I – ruled c. 2332-2279 BCE; powerful military and political figure; conquered Sumerian cities • Akkadian empire fell around 2180 BCE to the Guti
  21. 21. Stela of Naramsin c. 2254-2218 BCE. Limestone, height 1.98m. Musée du Louvre, Paris. Commemorates a military victory of Naramsin, Sargon’s grandson and successor. Stela means upright stone slab.
  22. 22. Votive Statue of Gudea From Lagash (modern Telloh, Iraq), c. 2120 BCE. Diorite, height 73.7cm. Musée du Louvre, Paris. The cuneiform inscription on the statue relates that Gudea dedicated himself, the sculpture, and the temple in which the sculpture resided to the goddess Geshtinanna, the divine poet and interpreter of dreams.
  23. 23. Mesopotamia: Babylonians • Amorites, a Semitic-speaking people from the Arabian Desert, reunited Sumer under Hammurabi (ruled 1729-1750 BCE) • Babylon – capital city • Written legal code that recorded laws and penalties
  24. 24. Stela of Hammurabi From Susa (modern Shush, Iran), c. 1792-1750 BCE. Basalt, height of stela approx. 2.13m, height of relief 71.1cm. Musée du Louvre, Paris. This contains the written legal code. Most of the three hundred entries deal with commercial and property matters. Only sixty-eight relate to domestic problems, and a mere twenty deal with physical assault. Punishments depended on the gender and social standing of the offender.
  25. 25. Stela of Hammurabi In the introductory section of the stela’s long cuneiform inscription, Hammurabi declared that with this code of law he intended “to cause justice to prevail in the land and to destroy the wicked and the evil, that the strong might not oppress the weak nor the weak the strong.”
  26. 26. Mesopotamia: Assyrians • Rose to dominance in 1400 BCE and controlled most of Mesopotamia by the end of the 9th century BCE • Early 7th century BCE: extended their influence as far west as Egypt • Adopted the ziggurat and preserved the Sumerian texts • Built fortified cities and vast palaces
  27. 27. Human-Headed Winged Lion (Lamassu) From the palace of Assurnasirpal II, Nimrud. 883-859 BCE. Limestone, height 3.11m. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. (Gift of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., 1932)
  28. 28. Assurbanipal and His Queen in the Garden From the palace at Nineveh (modern Kuyunjik, Iraq), c. 647 BCE. Alabaster, height approx. 53.3cm. The British Museum, London.
  29. 29. Mesopotamia: Assyrians • Assurbanipal – powerful Assyrian king ruled 669-c. 627 BCE) • After his reign, the empire collapsed by 600 BCE • Mesopotamia was absorbed by the Persian Empire under Cyrus II (ruled 559530 BCE)
  30. 30. EGYPT
  31. 31. Egypt • Fertile valley and delta of the Nile • Predynastic period – 4500-3300 BCE; Egypt was unified under a succession of powerful families or dynasties • Manetho – Egyptian priest and historian; drew up a list of rulers in the third century BCE
  32. 32. Early Dynastic & Old Kingdom • Egypt became a consolidated state along the banks of the Nile River • Evolved along into Upper Egypt (south) and Lower Egypt (north) • King-god Menes – merged the lands into a single kingdom (King Narmer, Dynasty 1, ruled c. 3150-3125 BCE)
  33. 33. Palette of Narmer From Hierakonpolis Dynasty 1, c. 3150-3125 BCE. Slate, height 63.5cm. Egyptian Museum, Cairo. This may have been a votive offering.
  34. 34. Early Dynastic & Old kingdom • Conventions of Egyptian Painting and relief sculpture (dignitaries): (1) heads are shown in profile to best capture the subject’s identifying feature (2) eyes are rendered in frontal view (3) shoulders are represented frontally (4) hips, legs and feet are drawn in profile • Persons of lesser social rank are represented more naturalistically
  35. 35. Early Dynastic & Old Kingdom • Central to ancient Egyptian belief was the idea that every human being had a life force – the ka or spirit. The ka lived on after the death of the body, forever engaged in the activities it had enjoyed during his earthly existence. • Ka statues, and elaborate funerary rites and tombs filled with supplies and furnishings
  36. 36. Early Dynastic & Old Kingdom • Mastaba – most common type of tomb structure; a flat-topped, one-story building with slanted walls erected above an underground burial chamber • Necropolis – a city of the dead; at the edge of the desert on the west bank of the Nile
  37. 37. Stepped Pyramid of Djoser Saqqara, Limestone, height 62m. This is the earliest truly monumental architecture in Egypt.
  38. 38. Plan of Djoser’s Funerary Complex Saqqara. Dynasty 3, c. 2681-2662 BCE. The designer of the complex, a man called Imhotep, laid out Djoser’s tomb as a stepped pyramid consisting of six mastabalike elements placed on top of each other, and originally covered with a limestone facing, or veneer.
  39. 39. Early Dynastic & Old Kingdom • Characteristics of 3D-sculptures: (1) lifelike figures (2) rigidly frontal, simple conceptions (3) rectilinear and block-like (4) figures mostly stands in a typical Egyptian balanced pose with one foot in front of the other, arms straight on the side, fist clenched
  40. 40. Khafre From Giza. Dynasty 4, c. 2570-2544 BCE. Diorite, height 1.68m. Egyptian Museum, Cairo. An over-lifesize statue of the Old Kingdom, the Dynasty 4 King Khafre (ruled c. 25702544 BCE), represents the ruler enthroned and protected by the falcon-god Horus.
  41. 41. Menkaure and His Wife, Queen Khamerernebty From Giza. Dynasty 4, c. 2515 BCE. Graywacke with traces of red and black paint, height 142.3cm. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Harvard University-MFA Expedition)
  42. 42. The Red Pyramid Dahshur, height 104m. This is the first true pyramid, and was built by Pharaoh Sneferu. This is believed to be the final resting place of “Sneferu the Great Pyramid Builder.”
  43. 43. Great Pyramids Giza. Dynasty 4, c. 2601-2515 BCE. Erected by Menkaure, Khafre (Chephren) and Khufu (Cheops). Granite and limestone, height of pyramid of Khufu 137m.
  44. 44. Plan of the Funerary Complex at Giza
  45. 45. Ti Watching a Hippopotamus Hunt Tomb of Ti, Saqqara. Dynasty 5, c. 2510-2460 BCE. Painted limestone relief, height approx. 114.3cm. The relief forms part of the decoration of a mastaba tomb discovered by the French archeologist Auguste Mariette in 1865. The hunt depicted on the relief had symbolic value.
  46. 46. The Middle Kingdom • Political authority became less centralized • The grid pattern became the first rational city plan • Subdivided into lots for houses which indicates three distinct economic and social levels within the population: (1) governmental and ceremonial center (2) the quarter with large dwellings (3) large district of smaller mud-brick homes
  47. 47. The Middle Kingdom • During Dynasties 11 and 12, wealthy members of the nobility and high-level officials commissioned labor-intensive rock-cut tombs that proclaimed their status • Artists are admired and respected • The patron’s and the artist’s desire for clarity permeates Egyptian art
  48. 48. Harvest Scene Tempera facsimile by Nina de Garis Davies of a wall painting in the tomb of Khnumhotep, Beni Hasan. Dynasty 12, c. 1928-1895 BCE. The farm workers are shown with their shoulders in profile, not in the unnatural pose prescribed for royalty.
  49. 49. Pectoral with the name of Senwosret II From el-Lahun. Dynasty 12, c. 1895-1878 BCE. Detail of a necklace. Gold and semi-precious stones, length 8.3cm. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. (Purchase, Rogers Fund and Henry Walters Gift, 1916.
  50. 50. The New Kingdom • Egypt prospered both politically and economically • Tuthmose III – the most dynamic king of Dynasty 18; ruled 1479-1425 BCE; extended Egypt’s influence along the eastern Mediterranean coast; first ruler to refer to himself as pharaoh (“great house”) • Extensive building programs along the Nile
  51. 51. Funerary Temple of Hatshepsut Deir el-Bahri. Dynasty 18, c. 1478-1458 BCE. At the far left are the ramp and base of the funerary temple of Mentuhotep I. Dynasty 11, c. 2009-1997 BCE.
  52. 52. Plan of the funerary temple of Hatshepsut Deir el-Bahri. Hatshepsut’s temple was constructed on three levels, which were connected by ramps and adorned with rows of columns, or colonnades. The temple’s innermost sanctuary was cut deep into the cliff in the manner of Middle Kingdom rock-cut tombs.
  53. 53. Great Temple of Amun Karnak Dynasty 19, c. 1294-1212 BCE. Access to the heart of the temple, a sanctuary containing the statue of Amun, was through a series of pylons and courtyards.
  54. 54. Plan of the Great Temple of Amun Karnak New Kingdom
  55. 55. Hypostyle hall Great Temple of Amun Karnak. Hypostyle hall is a vast column-filled space. This is the principal structure of the temple.
  56. 56. Pylon of Ramesses II Temple of Amun, Mut and Khonsu, Luxor. Dynasty 19, c. 1279-1212 BCE.
  57. 57. Pylon of Ramesses II Two colossal statues of Ramesses and a pair of obelisks stood in front of his pylon.
  58. 58. Queen Nefertari Making an Offering to Isis Wall painting in the tomb of Nefertari, Valley of Queens near Deir el-Bahri. Dynasty 19, c. 1279-1212 BCE. (J. Paul Getty Trust, 1991)
  59. 59. The New Kingdom • Amenhotep IV – Dynasty 18, 1352-c. 1348 BCE; founded a new religion demanding a belief in a single god, the life-giving sun disk Aten; changed his name to Akhenaten (“one who is effective on behalf of Aten”)
  60. 60. Akhenaten and His Family From Akhetaten (modern Tell el-Amarna). Dynasty 18, 13481336/5 BCE. Painted limestone relief, 31.1x38.7cm. Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Ägyptisches Museum.
  61. 61. Queen Tiy From Kom Mendinet Ghurab (near el-Lahun). Dynasty 18, c. 1390-1352 BCE. Boxwood, ebony, glass, gold, lapis lazuli, cloth, clay, and wax. Height 9.4cm. Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Ägyptisches Museum. “The Woman who Knows”
  62. 62. Nefertiti From Akhetaten (modern Tell el-Amarna) dynasty 18, c. 1348-1336/5 BCE. Limestone, height 51cm. Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Ägyptisches Museum. She is sometimes called “The lady of the two lands,” “Fair of Face,” “Mistress of Happiness,” and “Endowed with Favors.”
  63. 63. The New Kingdom • Tutankhaten – ruled 1336/35-1327 BCE; returned to all traditional religious beliefs; changed his name to Tutankhamun (“Living Image of Amun”) • He died at a young age and was buried in the Valley of the Kings near Thebes. His tomb was discovered in 1922 containing amazing treasures.
  64. 64. Inner coffin of Tutankhamun’s sarcophagus From the tomb of Tutankhamun, Valley of the Kings. Dynasty 18, 1336/5-1327 BCE. Gold inlaid with glass and semiprecious stones, height 1.85m. Egyptian Museum, Cairo. In November 1922, English archeologist Howard Carter discovered the entrance to the tomb of King Tutankhamun.
  65. 65. Funerary mask of Tutankhamun This is as it appears today. Gold inlaid with glass and semiprecious stones, height 54cm. Egyptian Museum, Cairo. In this image, Egyptian artists emphasized clarity of line in color, simplified forms, and the reduction of nature to elemental geometric shapes, thus establishing an unsurpassed standard of technical and aesthetic excellence.
  66. 66. The New Kingdom • Egyptian funerary practices revolved around Osiris, his resurrection, and a belief in the continuity of life after death by Egyptians of all ranks. • These beliefs gave rise to additional funerary practices popular among nonroyal classes. Family members commissioned papyrus scrolls containing magical texts or spells to help the dead.
  67. 67. Judgment before Osiris Illustration from a Book of the Dead. Dynasty 19, c. 1285 BCE. Painted papyrus, height 39.8cm. The British Museum, London.
  68. 68. The Late Period • C. 747-332 BCE • Saw the country and its arts in the hands and service of foreigners • Piye – Nubian leader from the Kingdom of Kush conquered Egypt and established capitals at Memphis and Thebes • The Nubians adopted Egyptian religious practices and architectural forms.
  69. 69. Sphinx of Taharqo From Temple T, Kawa, Nubia. Dynasty 25, c. 690664 BCE. Height 74.7 cm. The British Museum, London.
  70. 70. The Late Period • The Nubians were followed by Assyrians, Persians, and Macedonians until the Ptolemies regained control of Egypt after the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BCE. • In 30 BCE the last Egyptian ruler, Cleopatra VII, dies a suicide and the Romans added Egypt to their empire.
  71. 71. LRMC/2013
  72. 72. The Middle Kingdom Inscription on the tombstone of a Middle Kingdom Sculptor: “I am an artist who excels in my art, a man above the common herd in knowledge. I know the proper attitude for a statue [of a man]; I know how a woman holds herself, [and how] a spearman lifts his arm…. There is no man famous for this knowledge other than myself and my eldest son” (cited in Montet, page 159)
  73. 73. Mummification • Remove brain • Empty body of internal organs • Soak body and internal organs in “vat of natron” for more than one month • Retrieve body → dry → dye • Body cavity packed with clean linen • Wrap major organs separately • Wrap body; limb first