Art in different ancient civilizations

Topics: Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome Pages: 5 (1656 words) Published: December 2, 2013
Art in different ancient civilizations could be completely different from one another, but also had some distinct similarities. Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome’s paintings and sculptures are the main focus. By comparing and contrasting those artifacts, traditions and cultures are viewed as both total opposites and linking influences. So researching the civilizations individually and then in the end one can observe the similarities and differences.

Starting with ancient Egyptian art, it comes almost exclusively out of tombs and temples. The art was not intended for decoration, but to replicate and honor the dead in what they believed was the afterlife. These figures are usually sized according to the hierarchy the Egyptians followed. Nowhere else in the ancient world do people see such an intimate and intelligible union of image and word, their words being hieroglyphs. It is to be noted that most elements of Egyptian art remained remarkably stable over the 3000 year period that represents the ancient civilization without strong outside influence. Because of the highly religious nature of Ancient Egyptian civilization, many of the great works depict gods, goddesses, and Pharaohs, who were considered divine. Of the materials used by the Egyptian sculptors, we find - clay, wood, metal, ivory, and stone - stone was the most plentiful and permanent, available in a wide variety of colors and hardness.

The Ancient Egyptian art style known as Amarna Art was a style of art that was adopted in the Amarna Period. It is characterized by a sense of movement and activity in images, with figures having raised heads, many figures overlapping and many scenes are crowded and very busy. 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). Sculptures from the Amarna period were a lot more relaxed and depicted people as they really were and not focusing on just some of their features. One of the most notable and lasting achievements of the Ancient Egyptians, that is also considered art in architecture, are their pyramids. The size, design, and structure of the pyramids reveal the skill of these ancient builders. The pyramids were great monuments and tombs for the kings. The Egyptians believed that a king's soul continued to guide affairs of the kingdom even after his death. To ensure that they would continue to enjoy the blessings of the gods, they preserved the pharaoh's body through the mummification process. They built the pyramids to protect the pharaoh's body; the pyramid was a symbol of hope, because it would ensure the pharaoh's union with the gods. Finally, literature, being art as well, was an important aspect in ancient Egyptian life. Religion was often the subject of Egyptian literature. Prayers and hymns were written in praise of the gods. The most important book was "The Book of the Dead." This book contained over 200 prayers and magic formulas that taught the Egyptians how to reach a happy afterlife. The Egyptians also wrote adventure stories, fairy tales, myths, love stories, poems, proverbs and quotes. It is all beautifully done with vivid colors.

Art went through a tremendous amount of development in ancient Greece from the archaic to the Hellenistic eras. It was mostly due to the political and philosophical views of the era. The Greek concept of beauty was based on a pleasing balance and proportion of form. Greek sculpture established an ideal standard for the human form. In pottery painting, a new style of decoration developed. It was based on geometric designs--triangles, dots, and straight and angled lines. Human figures were introduced by the 700's B.C. They first appeared on large pots used as burial monuments. These early, primitive silhouette figures marked the first depiction of people in Greek art. As artists began to portray the natural curves of the human body, the angular figures were gradually replaced with...
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