The Art of Ancient Eqypt

History
Tutor: None Selected Time limit: 1 Day

Geography and natural resources played a large part in the production of Egyptian art.  Explain how the available materials were used by artists.   

 

Jul 5th, 2015

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For any country, the art produced by the nation depends greatly on the presence of natural resources as well as the geographical conditions of the surroundings. Egypt being located at a desert had extremes of climate and natural resources were in limited amounts.

Egyptian artists used a wide array of materials which included both local and imported, from very early in their history. For instance, already in the Predynastic period we find figurines carved from lapis lazuli—a lustrous blue stone that originates in what is now Afghanistan and indicates the early presence of robust trade routes.

There were numerous native stones used for statuary, including the ubiquitous soft limestone of the desert cliffs that line most of the Nile valley, as well as sandstone, calcite, and schist.

Harder stones include quartzite, diorite, granite, and basalt. Carving on softer stones was done using copper chisels and stone tools also with hard stone required tools of yet harder stone, copper alloys, and the use of abrasive sand to shape them. Polishing was achieved with a smooth rubbing stone and abrasive sands with a fine grit thus making full use of the geographical conditions around there.

Metal work: - They also executed pieces in various metals, including copper, copper alloys (such as bronze), gold, and silver. Cult statues of gods were made in gold and silver—materials identified by myth as their skin and bones—and were often quite small. Very few metal statues survive because they were often melted down and the material reused, although preserved examples from the Old and Middle Kingdoms demonstrate that they were skilled not only in sheet metal forming, but also practiced complex casting.


Pigment work: Most pigments in Egypt were derived from local minerals. White was often made from gypsum, black from carbon, reds and yellows from iron oxides, blue and green from azurite and malachite, and bright yellow (representing gold) from orpiment. These minerals were ground and then mixed with a plant or animal based glue to make a medium able to attach to the walls.





References:

1. https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/ancient-art-civilizations/egypt-art/beginners-guide-egypt/a/materials-techniques


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Jul 5th, 2015

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Jul 5th, 2015

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