Shared Flashcard Set


Egyptian Art
From the Barron's Review Book
Art History
11th Grade

Additional Art History Flashcards





Narmer Palette

Predynastic or Old Kingdom Art, 3000-2930 BCE, slate

  • Relief sculpture depicting King Narmer uniting upper and lower Egypt
  • Hathor, a god as a cow with a woman's face, depicted four times at the top register
  • Figures tand on a ledge
  • Hierarchy of scale
  • On front: Narmer, who is the largest figure, wears the cobra crown of lower Egypt and is reviewing the beheaded bodies of the enemy, bodies that are seen from above, with heads carefully placed between their legs; Narmer is preceded by four standard bearers and a priest and followed by his foot washer or sandal bearer; in the center are harnessed lionesses with elngated necks, possibly symbolizing unification; at the bottom is a symbol of ab ull knocking down a city fortress - Narmer knocking over his enemies
  • On back: Hawk is Horus, god of Egypt; triumphs over Narmer's foes; Horus holds a rope around a man's head and a papyrus plant, symbols of lower Egypt; Narmer has a symbol of strength, the bull's tail, at his waist; wears a bowling pin-shaped crown as king of united Egypt, beating down an enemy; Servant holds his sandals behind him as he stands on the sacred ground as a divine king; defeated Egyptians lie beneath his feet
  • Schematic lines delineate narmer's muscle structure: forearm veins and thigh muscles are represented by straight lines; half circles for the knee caps
  • Palette used to prepare eye make-up for the blinding sun, although this palette was probalby commerative
  • Hieroglyphics explain and add to the meaing
  • Narrative

Stepped Pyramid of King Djoser

Old Kingdom Art, Imhotep, c. 2630-2611 BCE

  • By Imhotep, first known artist in history
  • First complex of buildings constructed entirely of stone
  • Consists of six unequal steps, like a giant staircase
  • Gives the impression of being a huge staircase to the heavens
  • Appears like a stack of mastabas, one atop the other
  • Burial is below ground, as in a mastaba. Stepped Pyramid is solid
  • Part of a complex called a necropolis

Great Pyramids

Old Kingdom Art, c. 2500 BCE, Giza, Egypt

  • Giant monuments to dead pharaohs
  • Each pyramid had an enjoining mortuary temple
  • Hige pile of limestone with minimal interior for the deceased; pharaoh buried within the pyramid, unlike at the stepped pyramid
  • Each side of the pyramid oriented toward a point on the compass

Great Sphinx 

Old Kingdom Art, c. 2500 BCE, Giza Egypt

  • Very generalized features, although some say it may be a portrait of Khafre
  • Carved in situ from a huge rock
  • Body of a lion, head of a pharaoh and/or god
  • Sphinx seems to protect the pyramids behind it
  • Originally brightly painted to stand out in the desert
  • Cats are royal animals in ancient Egypt, probably because they saved the grain supply from mice
  • Head of the Sphinx badly mauled in the Middle Ages
  • Beard of Sphinx in the British Museum


Old Kingdom Art, c. 2500 BCE, diorite

  • Idealized feature and body
  • Falcon god Horus is behind Khafre, protecting him; Khafre is an incarnation of Horus; pharaogh divinely appointed
  • Symbol of a united Egypt in the interlocking of lotus and papyrus plants at the base
  • Frontal, symmetrical, rigid, motionless, cubic
  • Figure not cut away from the stone: legs attached, no negative space between arms and stomach
  • Strict adherence to Egyptian canon of proportions

Seated Scribe

Old Kingdom Art, c. 2400 BCE, limestone

  • Created for a tomb at Saqqara as a provision for the ka
  • Not a pharaoh: wooden sculpture with sagging chest and realistic rather than idealistic features
  • Color still remains on the sculpture
  • Amazingly lifelike, but not a portrait - rather, a conventional image of a scribe
  • Attentive expression; thin, angular face
  • Contrasts with the ideally portrayed pharaoh

Ti Watching the Hippopotamus Hunt

Old Kingdom Art, c. 2400, painted limestone

  • Painted relief in the mastaba of Ti, a government official
  • Ti's boat glides through the gigantic papyri, which flower into a fan of birds and foxes
  • Hunt takes place as a memorial to the deceased; success in the hunt is a parallel with the fight against evil
  • Servants hunt as a tribute to the decased Ti, also to destroy animals, like hippopotami, which were pests that damaged crops and were considered agents of the god of darkness
  • Ti stands on, rather than in, the boat and is double anyone else's size to show his status



Senusret III

Middle Kingdom Art, c. 1860 BCE, stone

  • Moody look in the eyes and moth: depressed rather than the heroic figures seen in the Old Kingdom
  • Figures relfect the period of civil unrest
  • Introspective
  • Firm chin
  • Carefully delineated lines and folds of flesh between the brows and at the corners of nose and mouth

Rock Cut Tombs of Beni Hasan

Middle Kingdom Art, c. 1950-1900 BCE

  • Cliff walls hollowed out to reveal small burial chambers
  • Reserve columns cut away from the interior chamber to create the look of conventional columns
  • Columns are not round but fluted
  • Facade shows shallow columned porch

Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut

New Kingdom Art, c. 1473-1458 BCE, Deir el-Bahri, Egypt

  • 3 Colonnaded terraces and 2 ramps
  • Visually coordinated with the natural setting; long horizontals and verticals of the terraces and colonnades repeat the patterns of the cliffs behind; patterns of dark and light in the colonnade are reflected in the cliffs
  • Terraces were originally planted as gardens with exotic trees
  • First time the achievements of a woman are celebrated in art historyl her body interred elsewhere



Queen Hatshepsut

New Kingdom Art, c. 1473-1458, granite

  • Queen represented in male costume of a pharaoh, yet slender and slight breasts indicate femininity 
  • Often portrayed as a sphinx
  • Headdress, false beard, and traces of the cobra on the crown show her affinity with male pharaoh role

Temple of Amen-Re

New Kingdom Art, 1290-1224 BCE, Thebes, Egypt

  • Huge columns, tightly packed together, admitting little light into the sanctuary
  • Hypostyle halls
  • Columns elaborately painted
  • Massive lintels bind the columns together
  • Axial plan


New Kingdom Art, c. 1353-1335 BCE, sandstone

  • Body has same pose as in Old Kingdom sculptures, but features are smoother, more relaxed; new image of a pharaoh
  • Curving contours
  • Epicene body
  • Slack lips, long face
  • Heavy-lidded eyes
  • Tight clothes accentuate big hips
  • Stomach protrudes over elastic, hanging waistline
  • Thin arms
  • Amarna style


New Kingdom Art, 1353-1335 BCE, limestone

  • Long, elegant neck
  • Realistic face; soft, delicate New Kingdom features
  • Perhaps the sculpture was a demonstration model for copying
  • Wife of Akhenaton
  • Armana style

King Tutankhamen

New Kingdom Art, c. 1323 BCE, gold, enamel, semiprecious stones

  • Famous tomb discovered by Howard Center in 1922
  • Mummified body of King Tutankhamen buried with 143 objects on his head, neck, abdomen, and limbs; gold mask placed over head
  • Gold coffin 6'7" long containing the body of the pharaoh
  • Smoothly idealized features of the boy-king

Judgment before Osiris

New Kingdom Art, c. 1290-1280 BCE, papyrus

  • Illustration from the Book of the Dead, an Egyptian book of spells and charms
  • The god of embalming, Anubis, has a jackal's head. He leads the deceased into a hall where his soul is being weighed against a feather. If the sins weigh more than a feather, he will be condemned
  • The hippopotamus/lion figure between the scales will eat the heart of an evil soul
  • The god Thoth has the head of a bird. He is the stenogrpapher writing down these events in the hieroglyphics that he invented
  • Osiris, god of the underworld, appears enthroned on the right to subject the deceased to a day of jdgment


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