Dictionary of Art and Artists


 

 


History of

Architecture and Sculpture

 
 

 

 
 

 
 

CONTENTS:

 
 

PART ONE
THE ANCIENT WORLD
PREHISTORIC ART
EGYPTIAN ART

ANCIENT NEAR EASTERN ART
AEGEAN ART
GREEK ART
ETRUSCAN ART
ROMAN ART
EARLY CHRISTIAN AND BYZANTINE ART

PART TWO
THE MIDDLE AGES
EARLY MEDIEVAL ART
ROMANESQUE ART
GOTHIC ART

PART THREE
THE RENAISSANCE THROUGH THE ROCOCO
LATE GOTHIC
THE EARLY RENAISSANCE IN ITALY
THE HIGH RENAISSANCE IN ITALY
MANNERISM AND OTHER TRENDS
THE RENAISSANCE IN THE NORTH
THE BAROQUE IN ITALY AND SPAIN
THE BAROQUE IN FLANDERS AND HOLLAND
THE BAROQUE
THE ROCOCO

PART FOUR
THE MODERN WORLD
NEOCLASSICISM AND ROMANTICISM
REALISM AND IMPRESSIONISM
POST-IMPRESSIONISM, SYMBOLISM, AND ART NOUVEAU

PART FIVE
TWENTIETH-CENTURY
TWENTIETH-CENTURY SCULPTURE
TWENTIETH-CENTURY ARCHITECTURE


INDEX
FIGURES
 

 
 


CHAPTER TWO

EGYPTIAN ART

 

THE OLD KINGDOM
THE MIDDLE KINGDOM
THE NEW KINGDO
M-I

THE NEW KINGDOM-II

 


THE MIDDLE KINGDOM

 

Alter the collapse of centralized pharaonic power at the end of the Sixth Dynasty, Egypt entered a period of political disturbances and ill fortune that was to last almost 700 years. During most of this time, effective, authority lay in the hands of local or regional overlords, who revived the old rivalry of North and South. Many dynasties followed one another in rapid succession, but only two, the Eleventh and Twelfth, are worthy of note. The latter constitute the Middle Kingdom (2134-1785 B.C.), when a series of able rulers managed to reassert themselves against the provincial nobility. However, the spell of divine kingship, having once been broken, never regained its old effectiveness, and the authority of the Middle Kingdom pharaohs tended to be personal rather than institutional. Soon after the close of the Twelfth Dynasty, the weakened country was invaded by the Hyksos, a western Asiatic-people of somewhat mysterious origin, who seized the Delta area and ruled it for 150 years until their expulsion by the princes of Thebes about 1570 B.C.


 

72. Portrait of Sesostris III (fragment), 1850 B.C. Quartzite, height 6 1/2" (16.5 cm).
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Carnarvon Collection, Gift of Edward S. Harkness,
1926

 

PORTRAITURE.

The unquiet spirit of the times is well reflected in Middle Kingdom art. We find it especially in the new type of royal portrait that marks the Twelfth Dynasty, such as the one in figure
72. There is a real sense of shock on first encountering this strangely modern face. The serene assurance of the Old Kingdom has given way to a brooding, troubled expression that bespeaks a new level of self-awareness. Lacking its royal trappings, our fragment displays so uncompromising a realism, physical as well as psychological, that at first glance the link with the sculptural tradition of the past seems broken entirely. Here is another enduring achievement of Egyptian art, destined to live on in Roman portraiture and in the portraiture of the Renaissance.


73. Feeding the Oryxes, . 1920 B.C. Tomb or Khnum-hotep, Beni Hasan

 

PAINTING AND RELIEF.

A loosening of established rules also makes itself felt in Middle Kingdom painting and relief, where it leads to all sorts of interesting departures from convention. They occur most conspicuously in the decoration of the tombs of local princes at Beni Hasan, which have survived destruction better than most Middle Kingdom monuments because they are carved into the living rock. The mural Feeding the Oryxes (fig.
73) comes from one of these rock-cut tombs, that of Khnum-hotep. (As the emblem of the prince's domain, the oryx antelope seems to have been a sort of honored pet in his household.) According to the standards of Old Kingdom art, all the figures ought to share the same ground-line, or the second oryx and its attendant ought to be placed above the first. Instead, the painter has introduced a secondary ground-line only slightly higher than the primary one, and as a result the two groups are related in a way that closely approximates normal appearances. His interest in exploring spatial effects can also be seen in the awkward but quite bold foreshortening of the shoulders of the two attendants. If we cover up the hieroglyphic signs, which emphasize the flatness of the wall, we can "read" the forms in depth with surprising ease.
 


Rock-cut tombs, . 1950-1900 B.C. 
Beni Hasan
, Egypt, Dynasty XII


Interior hall of the Rock-cut tombs, . 1950-1900 B.C. 
Beni Hasan
, Egypt, Dynasty XII

 


Guardian figure in the form of
King Amenemhat II,
Middle Kingdom, Dynasty 12,
reign of Amenemhat II,
ca. 19191885 b.c.


Pectoral of Princess Sit-Hathor-yunet (detail), Middle Kingdom, Dynasty 12,
reigns of Senwosret IIAmenemhat III, ca. 18871813 B.C.
Gold, carnelian, feldspar, garnet, turquoise



Statuette of a Hippopotamus, Middle Kingdom, Dynasty 12, ca. 19811885 b.c.
Egyptian; Middle Egypt, Meir. Faience

 

Colossal statue of Mentuhotep II,
Middle Kingdom, Dynasty 11,
ca. 20512000 b.c. H. 99 1/4 in. (252 cm)

Statue of Nebhepetre Mentuhotep II,
in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo.
Painted Sandstone, 11th Dynasty



Head of a statue of king Senwosret I, provenance unknown, 12th dynasty.

A kneeling statue of Sobekhotep V, one of the pharaohs from the declining years of the Middle Kingdom.

Statue head of Senusret III
.

 
 

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