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The part of the first chapter of “Gardner’s Art Through the Ages” dwells upon the history of Ancient Egypt from the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt to the period of the New Kingdom. Ancient Egypt was a country with considerable resources due to its favorable climate and geographic location. There are quite numerous artifacts (pottery, paintings, and tombs) that date back to prehistoric times. The unification of Upper and Lower Egypt is regarded as the start of the history of Ancient Egypt (Kleiner 30). The Palette of King Narmer is described in detail as it displays the events that led to the unification.
Substantial attention is also paid to the afterlife and rulers’ tombs as this was an important part of the culture of Ancient Egypt. Initially, rulers and nobility were buried in mastaba tombs (Kleiner 32). Imhotep created a new tradition when he created a tomb for Djoser, which was a stepped pyramid. Eventually, Egyptian kings were buried in pyramids that symbolized the sun and its rays, as well as the king’s path to the sun. The Pyramids of Gizeh became one of the Seven Wonders due to their size and used resources. The construction of the complex required the investment of the enormous input of thousands of workers. The chapter also includes some information regarding the decoration of the tombs (Kleiner 35). Statues (standing and sitting figures of rulers and their wives) and paintings adorned the tombs. These artworks were created in strict accordance with certain standards that focused on perfection rather than the realistic presentation of people (Kleiner 36). The Temple of Ramses II, one of the greatest pharaohs of the New Kingdom, is also constructed and adorned according to standards (although the statues and paintings had gigantic dimensions).
Akhenaton was a pharaoh whose sanctuary was build in accordance with new norms. The face and body of his statue do not follow the perfection standard, which may be a reaction to (or a rebel against) the centuries of standards. Khafre Enthroned from Gizeh is one of the most significant artworks of Ancient Egyptian art. The statue can serve as an example of the standards that were followed for centuries. The piece also displays Ancient Egyptians’ concern regarding the security of people’s ka.
Kleiner, Fred S. Gardner’s Art Through the Ages – A Concise Western History. 4th ed., Cengage Learning, 2016.