Synthesis of arts in the architecture of ancient Egypt

The history of art knows various, sometimes unexpected, and seemingly incompatible forms of synthesis in art. In addition, architecture, as the most monumental of the arts known to us, is constantly striving for their unification, a kind of experimental eclecticism, for the union of architectural and artistic synthesis, where painting, the art of sculpture, engraving, mosaics are carrying out their own aesthetic tasks, deepen and complement more majestic in form and volume architectural creation.

Only recently, in the 19th century, it became clear that architects in ancient times painted their buildings and their elements. All religious temples, all public buildings of ancient Egypt were colorful and strikingly bright. But over the centuries, the paint has burned out, peeled off, washed off and peeled off. Modern computer reconstructions allow you to see how beautiful these buildings were!

This spatial and plastic synthesis, as a rule, involves decorative, applied, and easel arts, such as painting, sculpting statues, etc. The organic synthesis of different types of art into a single whole a work of art or an ensemble modifies the material and cultural environment of their very creator - a person. Cooperation between the arts involved in this synthesis can be different. One type of art can completely dominate, subjugating others, or giving them even more freedom of expression.

Columns in the Great Hypostyle Hall in the Temple of Amun-Re at the Karnak Temple Complex near Thebes (modern-day Luxor)

According to the general opinion of scientists, one of the central places in the development of the synthesis of arts belongs to Ancient Egypt - the cradle of modern architecture and crafts, and, of course, architecture was the dominant art form here. Using the services of a local private tour guide in any of the ancient historical sites of Egypt, you will be able to find out many more interesting and hidden details of architectural masterpieces hidden from casual idle eyes, of which there are so many in this country! It is a connoisseur-Egyptologist who is able to show you those symbioses of creative techniques that have been used on this ancient land that has survived to our times but noticeably deformed over time.

Nefertari's tomb in the Valley of the Queens in Egypt. Nefertari Merytmut or Mut Nefertari (1300-1250 BC) was the Great Royal Wife of Ramses II the Great, one of Egypt's most powerful and long-lived pharaohs. Nefertari is one of the best known Egyptian queens along with Cleopatra, Nefertiti and Hatshepsut. Nefertari's tomb is decorated with images from the underworld. They are representations of the Book of the Dead. The Book of the Dead illustrates each of the difficult stages and portals that Queen Nefertari had to pass on her way to reach the afterlife, pass the judgment of Osiris and thus achieve the long-awaited immortality. In the Antechamber we find representations of Queen Nefertari herself and of those of the deities who accompanied her on her journey to the afterlife, such as: The seated god Khepri, identified by the scarab head - is the god of the rising sun of tomorrow and symbolizes the possibility of transformation of Nefertari, and Isis, who takes the hand of Nefertari, before the god Khepri. The frescoes of the Nefertari mausoleum are richly decorated with all kinds of details in clothes and jewelry, in which the always beautiful and very sensual Nefertari appears with her shiny black hair and a languid gaze, adorned with kohl. Nefertari usually appears in a semi-transparent white linen dress and a golden vulture headdress, a symbol of motherhood. The depiction of the costumes, headdresses and jewels, with much detail and meticulousness, indicate the privileged status and high economic position of the beautiful queen of the 19th dynasty. Our eyes didn't know where to look in front of such a wealth of images. The frescoes of the paintings of the Tomb of Nefertari reached up to the ceilings, detailed by a starry firmament, an exclusive decoration reserved only for kings. In the side chambers there are beautiful scenes of Nefertari in front of Thoth, god of writing, with the head of an Ibis. Behind Queen Nefertari we find the entire 94 chapter of the Book of the Dead inscribed.

The synthesis of arts is an organic fusion of various types of fine and decorative arts with architecture.

Temples and ancient images of the gods were often painted with bright colors, but they usually faded or even completely disappeared as a result of external influences. At Khnum's temple in Esna, the colors have been covered in mud and soot for almost 2,000 years, and this has helped to preserve them. More than half of the ceilings and eight of the 18 columns were cleaned, preserved, and documented by a team of experts. The full range of images of the temple is unique in its richness of figures and state of preservation of colors.

The purpose of such interpenetration is the creation of a single fundamental architectural ensemble, designed for a long life in many generations of architectural and artistic work. All types of fine arts in Egypt can no doubt be called born from architecture. 

Egyptian Goddesses

Architecture as the leading art in Egypt largely determines the nature of other crafts - plastics and paint. Sculpture, calligraphy, and wall painting, obeying the king of Egyptian arts - architecture - form a single and organic whole with it. It was on this land that the synthesis of different types of fine arts was born - architecture, sculpture, colored reliefs, mosaics, paintings, and calligraphy - and it became one of the most important visiting cards of Egyptian ancient grandiose monuments.

Eight lines of Egyptian hieroglyphs in details

The best confirmation of this is the temples in honor of Amun-Ra in ancient Luxor and Karnak, and, of course, the funeral temple of Queen Hatshepsut near Thebes.

Tombs in the valley of the queens and in the Al-Bahari complex of Deir

Here are just a few examples of the synthesis of the arts in ancient Egypt:

  • Statues of cave temples (architecture + sculpture)
  • Wall writing (architecture + calligraphy)
  • Decorated colonnades (architecture + painting)

Tutankhamun's sarcophagus from his tomb in the Valley of the Kings.

The synthesis of arts in architecture is an organic unity of plastic arts such as sculpture, painting, and architecture, as a result of which a holistic ideological and artistic image of a separate building or an entire architectural ensemble is created. An example of such a synthesis of arts in architecture is the Luxor Temple - the ruins of the central temple of Amun-Ra, on the right of the majestic Nile, in the southern part of ancient Thebes, within the modern metropolis of Luxor - in the form as modern reconstructions represent it.

Karnak Temple - the largest temple complex of Ancient Egypt, the first state sanctuary of the New Kingdom. The ensemble consists of temples dedicated to the Theban triad - the supreme god Amon-Ra, his wife Mut, and his son Khonsu. The complex was built on the territory of ancient Thebes in modern Karnak, a small settlement located on the east bank of the Nile, 2.5 km from the city of Luxor. The most grandiose building is the temple of Amun-Ra with its 10 pylons, the largest of which is 113 meters long, 15 meters wide, and 45 meters high. The total area of the temple is approximately 30 hectares. In addition to the pylons, the pillared hall presents a majestic view. The common people were allowed only into the courtyard of the temple, and only the chosen ones got into the hypostyle hall (pictured) - high officials, military leaders, and scribes.

The means of using elements of plastic art in architecture are extremely diverse - it can be a panel, or wall painting (as happens in the interior of Tutankhamun's tomb in the Valley of the Kings). In the temple of Pharaoh Seti I in Abydos, a rock bas-relief becomes a striking element of the architectural ensemble. A popular technique for creating a synergistic effect of the influence of different types of art on a holistic architectural image was the use of ornament by the ancient Egyptians, in particular, in Theban tombs. In later periods (including Ptolemaic times) mosaics were used with traditional motifs using various plants and flowers such as the lotus.

Pectoral from the tomb of Tutankhamun depicting a large winged scarab and the goddesses Nephthys and Isis. Gold, carnelian, lapis lazuli, paste, partitioned enamel. Architectural design of the object of jewelry art.

Works of decorative and applied art, which played an important role in the spatial-plastic synthesis, have also reached our time. A famous example of such decorative and applied elements in an integral architectural ensemble is the sarcophagus of Tutankhamun from his tomb in the Valley of the Kings. Finally, a powerful component of the synthesis of arts in the architecture of Ancient Egypt is, of course, sculpture. We can see this in particular in a drawing from the 1840s. Scottish artist David Roberts (1796 - 1864) depicted the temple at Abu Simbel.

Drawing by David Roberts of the Grand Colonnade in Luxor (1838). The full color of perception is lost.

The choice, as well as the placement, of the parts of the plastic arts in architecture, is subject to the compositional plan of the architectural work, and its ideological content; in the spatial environment created by architecture, the elements of artistic synthesis do not have the independence that is characteristic of a separate work of art in painting, sculpture and decorative and applied art. It is precisely when the elements of artistic synthesis are inseparable from the general solution of an architectural structure that we speak of the synthesis of arts in architecture.

Egyptian capitals. Lithograph with carvings and decorations from the Egyptian colonnade. Owen Jones, 1856

A unique example of the synthesis of Egyptian art with a dominant architectural component is the Temple of Hathor in Dendera. In the photo of its hypostyle hall, we see rare columns with three-dimensional four-sided reliefs of the head of the goddess Hathor, reliefs with a deep contour and a preserved background, and classical bas-reliefs where the background was removed. The use of color for the compositions on the columns, on the walls, and on the ceiling becomes noticeable. The Temple of Hathor is an excellent illustration of the thesis that all types of fine art can be called born from architecture in Egypt.

Horus the Behdetite in hieroglyphic characters
From the New Kingdom (1550 – 1069 BC) it became a symbol of protection which can still be seen on temple ceilings and above pylons and other ceremonial portals. Images of the falcon-winged sun disk, uniquely identified with Behdet's Horus, are found almost everywhere in Egypt. It recalled the celestial vault that the sun crosses in its daily apparent journey. The colorful example shown here comes from the temple of Ramses III at Medinet Habu. It decorates the underside of a massive limestone lintel which overlooks the entrance to a raised arcade between the Second Court and the Hypostyle Hall of the temple.

Also, a unique example of the combination of various types of art is the Khnum temple in Esna, which has preserved a carved capital, friezes of reliefs on the wall and ceiling of the temple, and the remains of a multi-colored coloring of paintings.

Tomb of Horemheb in the Valley of the Kings in Thebes. Synthesis of the arts of calligraphy (hieroglyphs) and painting with architecture.

It should be added that we now almost do not see all the beauty of the full-color perception of the undestroyed temples of the ancient Egyptians. They have come down to us already with disfigured, knocked-down faces of objectionable gods, robbed, with paintings that have crumbled or lost their color. A weak idea of the synthesis of the arts can be given by the sketches of the artists of the 19th century. For example, the Great Colonnade in Luxor now looks one way, and a little less than 200 years ago, in 1838, it made a completely different impression, as in the corresponding drawing by David Roberts.

A fantasy Egyptian temple scene and two statues of the god Anubis watching an Ank

The Temple of Hathor in Dendera now looks monochrome and rather restrained, somewhere between 1845 and 1849 David Roberts saw it in multi-colored colors, and in 1841 the same David Roberts fixed the still not disfigured faces of the goddess Hathor on the columns.

Red, orange, and blue hieroglyphic inscriptions on stone. Egyptian writing is known throughout the world for its hieroglyphs - mysterious and bewitching patterns that adorn the walls of temples, pyramids, and monuments. However, not everyone knows how this strange writing system worked and that it was not the only form of writing common in ancient Egypt. Hieroglyphics were a type of Egyptian script used for monumental engravings, that is, engravings on the walls and surfaces of important monuments and buildings such as the pyramids. Hieroglyphic writing consists of signs of different types, which can mean:
- individual sounds (similar to letters of the alphabet) and syllables;
- whole words (in the form of ideograms);
- semantic instructions (on how to interpret another hieroglyphic sign).
Modern linguistics knows about 6900 Egyptian characters (including individual characters, combinations, and variants of the same hieroglyph). Therefore, it is a very complex type of writing, since it can convey different types of values depending on combinations of elements and context. Therefore, hieroglyphic writing was not used in all contexts of public life, it was understood and practiced not by everyone, but only by highly educated people: the famous "scribes". To write religious texts and administrative and accounting documents, usually on sheets of papyrus, the ancient Egyptians used a different type of writing called hieratic. This is a faster and simpler writing system, but very close to hieroglyphs. Some scholars suggest that this is a simplification of the hieroglyphic system, but in fact, it has been shown that hieratic writing developed in parallel with hieroglyphic (rather than as a derivative of it).

Also, the synthesis of arts in Ancient Egypt can be observed in the example of more specific arts, for example, in Edhu we see in the temple of Horus a complex combination of calligraphy (petroglyphs), architecture, round sculpture, and relief.

Hatshepsut's Men return with a Tribute from Punt, a mural painting in Queen Hatshepsut's mortuary temple at Deir el Bahri 

Similarly, in the tomb of Horemheb in the Valley of the Kings in Thebes, we see a combination of hieroglyphs with colored wall paintings, this is also a synthesis of the arts - calligraphy and painting - with architecture.

Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamen surrounded by typical Egyptian jewelry in the form of lily flowers

We can see a slightly different aspect of the synthesis of arts if we look at the arts and crafts, in particular jewelry. We have already observed quite architectural solutions in applied art in the example of Tutankhamun's sarcophagus. The pectoral of Princess Sithatoriunet from the XII Dynasty of the reign of Pharaoh Senusret II is inlaid with 372 carefully cut pieces of semi-precious stones using the cloisonné enamel technique. Heraldic design is replete with symbolism. The zigzag lines on the plank, which are the base of the decoration, represent the primordial waters from which the primitive mountain arose.

Giant pylons in the Second Court of Medinet Habu with ancient traditional Egyptian ornamental images in the city of Thebes, which was the capital of the ancient Egyptian empire during its heyday and one of the legendary ancient cities. The ceiling of the gateway remains quite colorful. The walls are decorated with stories and hieroglyphics. Most of the city was located on the east bank of the Nile. The necropolis, also known as the "city of the dead," ran along the west bank and contained royal tombs and mortuary temples, as well as the homes of priests, soldiers, artisans, and laborers who dedicated their lives to the service of the Egyptian pharaohs. In 1979, UNESCO classified the Thebes region, which includes Luxor, the Valley of the Kings, the Valley of the Queens, and Karnak, as a World Heritage Site. In the seventh century BC, Thebes became the seat of the Nubian pharaohs.

Each falcon, a symbol of the sun god, embraces a circular hieroglyph meaning "encircled", thus declaring the solar deity's sovereignty over the universe. The same hieroglyph, stretched out to form a cartouche, surrounds the throne name of Sylvester II, Haheper. The royal name is flanked by two hieroglyphs ankh (meaning "life"), suspended from cobras, whose tails are wound around the sun disks on the falcons' heads. These snakes represent Nekhbet and Ujo, the traditional protector goddesses of the king. Supporting the royal cartouche, the kneeling god Heh squeezes two palm ribs, symbolizing "millions of years''. Thus, the life and existence of the king in time are described as part of the universe, created and maintained by the supreme god of the sun.

Interior of the Temple of Hathor in Dendera. Bas-reliefs.

Geometry, symmetry, symbolism, traditional colors, binding to spatial coordinates, the actual architecture of this decoration - in fact, we see the same thing as in architecture, so these techniques can also be called synthesis.

The winged sun is a symbol associated with divinity, royalty, and power in the Ancient Near East. In Ancient Egypt, the symbol is attested from the Old Kingdom (Sneferu, 26th century BC), flanked on either side with a uraeus. In early Egyptian religion, the symbol Behedeti represented Horus of Edfu, later identified with Ra-Harachte. It is sometimes depicted on the neck of Apis, the bull of Ptah. As time passed (according to interpretation) all of the subordinated gods of Egypt were considered to be aspects of the sun god, including Khepri.

We see even greater architecture on the large pectoral from the tomb of Tutankhamun, as if, so that we are not completely mistaken, the top of the decoration is crowned with the same image of a winged disk with uraei as on the temple in Luxor.

The tomb of Tutankhamun is the burial place of Tutankhamun (reigned c. 1334–1325 BC), a pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty of ancient Egypt, in the Valley of the Kings. The tomb is smaller and less extensively decorated than other Egyptian royal tombs of its time, and it probably originated as a tomb for a non-royal individual that was adapted for Tutankhamun's use after his premature death. Like other pharaohs, Tutankhamun was buried with a wide variety of funerary objects and personal possessions, such as coffins, furniture, clothing, and jewelry, though in the unusually limited space these goods had to be densely packed. Robbers entered the tomb twice in the years immediately following the burial, but Tutankhamun's mummy and most of the burial goods remained intact. The tomb's low position dug into the floor of the valley, allowing its entrance to be hidden by debris deposited by flooding and tomb construction. Thus, unlike other tombs in the valley, it was not stripped of its valuables during the Third Intermediate Period (c. 1070 – 664 BC). The burial chamber is painted with figures on a yellow background. The east wall portrays Tutankhamun's funeral procession, a type of image that is common in private New Kingdom tombs but not found in any other royal tomb. The north wall shows Ay performing the Opening of the Mouth ritual upon Tutankhamun's mummy, thus legitimizing him as the king's heir, and then Tutankhamun greeting the goddess Nut and the god Osiris in the afterlife. The west wall bears an image of twelve baboons, which is an extract from the first section of the Amduat, a funerary text that describes the journey of the sun god Ra through the netherworld. 

Fertile soil, warm climate, and luxurious oriental nature contributed to the prosperity of Ancient Egypt. If we recall the ancient myths of Egypt, they are symbolic, in a figurative and artistic form that conveys the Egyptians' idea of natural laws, the meaning of beauty, and the meaning and value of life itself.

Painting of Aaru in the tomb of Sennedjem in Deir el-Medina, collecting the annual crops. In ancient Egyptian mythology, Aaru is the heavenly paradise where Osiris rules. It has been described as the ka (a part of the soul) of the Nile Delta.

The Egyptians in their traditional myths urge the individual to join nature, to accept the reserved wise obedience to it, to adhere to this order as far as possible, and not try to change anything in it. Thus, the architecture of the temple is combined with its decor - columns with capitals in the form of flowers and buds of lotus, papyrus, palm leaves, painted star-shaped ceilings, statues in the hall, in the courtyard, and the sanctuary, reliefs decorating the walls, as well as the walls themselves. The synthesis of arts adds an architectural image, revealing its content. The hypostyle halls of the temples symbolized groves of trees, and closely placed columns symbolize growing palm trees.

Rameses I between Horus and Anubis Egyptian Wall Frieze.
Sculptural wall art originally found in Burial Chamber J, Valley of the Kings, Thebes, Egypt

Therefore, such art as landscape, garden, and park design also did not bypass Egypt. And the art of creating gardens and parks, of course, was also combined with architecture, complementing it, creating a synthetic synergistic effect of perception.

This artificial Ancient Egyptian Garden is a part of a famous project Hamilton Gardens located in New Zealand

The gardens of Ancient Egypt could be of the following types:

  • sacred groves, located on the shore of an artificial reservoir on the territory of temple complexes;
  • street gardening;
  • gardens at country palaces of pharaohs (ancestors of parks);
  • gardens at the dwellings of the nobility.

Wall drawing of a garden in ancient Egypt with ponds, pergolas, a temple, bridges, fruit trees, and a vineyard

On a fragment of a mural from the tomb of Nebamun, XVIII Dynasty, we see a carefully created landscape with different types of trees, bushes, and a pool with ornamental fish.

Astronomical painting of the ceiling in the hall Tomb of Memnon (fr. La Tombe de la Metempsychose) is the tomb of the pharaohs from the XX dynasty: Ramses V and Ramses VI. It is known as the first tomb of the Valley of the Kings, which contains all the dead books created in the era of the New Kingdom: the Book of Caves, the Book of the Earth, the Book of the Heavenly Cow, Amduat, the Book of Gates and the Litany of Ra.
It has been known about it since ancient times, judging by the fact that even in Roman times, ancient tourists left their graffiti here. Since 1888, debris was cleared from the tomb. The interior decoration of this tomb is less luxurious (a clearly visible decline in Egypt at that time) than the decor of the tombs of previous pharaohs, but is identical in detail with other burials of this dynasty.

A fresco from one of the walls of Rehmir's tomb in Luxor depicts a garden with a central pool in which a boat with a statue of Rehmir is towed by two groups of three, probably as part of a funeral rite. It is also possible that the scene takes place during the traditional annual Beautiful Festival of the Valley, during which relatives remove the cult statue of the deceased from his grave so that it can participate in outdoor activities. Here we see a synthesis of architecture, landscape design, and ritual theatrical performance.

Egyptian painters did not seek to represent depth. What mattered to them was that we recognize the characters or the situations they depicted.
The work reproduced here is a mortuary bas-relief representing the plowing of fields, the harvesting of crops, and the threshing of grain. All the characters are represented on the same plane, side by side, in profile. Yet their shoulders, eyes, and hands are seen from the front. The figures seem flat, without shadow, and therefore without modeling. The landscape is reduced to a few elements. There is no real depth impression. The representation unfolds like a comic book in registers that are staged from top to bottom.

It is important to note that in ancient Egypt, not a single solemn religious ceremony was complete without a theatrical performance, which gave the ritual ceremonies a special spectacular character. The attraction to theatricality among the Egyptians was so strong that the rites associated with a religious cult turned into a kind of theatrical ritual. Ancient Egyptian religious rites were based on a clear and thoughtful, not inferior to modern, dramaturgy, artistic design, such as complex and expensive costumes, multifaceted and multi-tiered scenery, stage acting (such as playing episodes from the life of the Gods in faces), a variety of expressive plastic, visual and audio influences - dance, music, singing of hymns, recitative, theatrical language understandable for that time.

This Middle Kingdom pectoral was found in the tomb of Princess Sit-Hathor Yunet, the daughter of Pharaoh Senusret II, of the Middle Kingdom. It bears the name 'Khakheperre' which was the prenomen or royal name of this Egyptian king. Senusret II is notable for founding the town of Kahun during his reign. This jewelry is now located in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and was made of cloisonné inlays on gold of carnelian, feldspar, garnet, turquoise, and lapis lazuli.

Let us remind you once again that the scenery was a real, specially created landscape - monumental temples, a valley, natural light from the Sun, setting behind the mountains and illuminating the temple and participants at a certain right angle. All this created an incredible scenographic effect of such a monumental nature and the leading violin here is played, of course, by the architecture inscribed in the majestic landscape.

A fragment of the frescoes on the wall of the tomb chapel of Nebamun depicts guests, servants, musicians, and dancers at a funerary banquet. 

Monumentality was emphasized by all the features of the composition:

  • the geometry of forms,
  • majestic tranquility of mountains, pyramids, and temples;
  • laconicism, lack of decor in the landscape (the image of the pyramids of Cheops and Khafre in the drawing by David Roberts can serve as a good best example here); on the contrary, the decor of temples, pyramids and closed courtyards of palaces is striking in splendor.

Great speos: Continuation and end of the second painting from Monuments de l'Égypte et de la Nubie by Jean François Champollion (1790-1832).

A fresco from the tomb of Khonsu, a nobleman of the 19th dynasty (early 13th - early 12th century BC), presents a synthesis of several arts - landscape design (channel), architecture (a temple invisible to us), music, and vocal performance, sculpture, arts and crafts.

The scale of monumental construction

Tomba di Seti I, il secondo faraone della XIX dinastia dell'Antico Egitto. È la tomba più lunga (137,19 m) e squisita della Valle dei Re. Detta anche Tomba Belzoni, dal nome dello scienziato che l'ha scoperta. In totale, ci sono 6 scale nella tomba (una delle quali è nascosta), diversi corridoi, un pozzo, una falsa camera funeraria, una vera camera funeraria e una serie di altre stanze. Le pareti della tomba sono interamente dipinte con varie scene sul tema dell'aldilà, un livello sbalorditivo della loro esecuzione. Tutti i cancelli, le scale e i passaggi situati in precedenza sono ricoperti di geroglifici e disegni e compongono un quadro, proseguendo dall'ingresso alla sala, lungo di essa e in tutte le stanze successive. Sono dipinte su sottile intonaco giallastro e raffigurano il peregrinare dell'anima attraverso vari punti di Amenti (“nascosto”, cioè l'aldilà), fino a essere portata nei campi “fioriti” di Ialu, nella “casa del sole". Mostrano come il re appare davanti a varie divinità di Amenti, alle quali si avvicina sulla barca del sole.

During this period, the conceptual idea and layout of the ground sanctuary were finally developed (the flourishing of rituals in temples instead of tombs, the power of the priests takes precedence over the power of the king): it is an elongated rectangle in the perimeter, all its sides stretch along one main axis. An obligatory alley of guards - sphinxes - directed to the temple. This rule applied not only to mortuary temples but also to sanctuary temples. The glorification of the sovereign pharaoh, the praise of his grandiosity - this is what becomes the meaning of any ritual, and therefore the place where this ritual was performed!

Senkamanisken statue reconstruction, with Kushite headdress - Statue of one of four "Black Pharaohs" (rulers of the 25th Dynasty and the Kingdom of Kush), in the Louvre Museum (reconstructions through color pigment analysis)

From the majestic sacred Nile to the temple there was a road with statues of guardians of sphinxes on the sides. A typical feature of the architecture of the temples of those times was sky-high colonnades in the middle of an open and windswept courtyard, which, as it were, determined the passage from the pylon to the temple itself. Here the idea of narrowing the space was realized, and therefore those who participated in the rituals - many were called, but few were chosen! Karnak is the main official sanctuary of the state of Luxor (architect Amenhotep). The idea of polytheism was not allowed here, since everything served to sing only one god - Aten.

Hypostyle columns of the Temple of Amun at Karnak, which contain inscriptions and drawings, as well as throughout the complex. The upper areas are painted in accordance with the canons of other similar temples, which suggests that the rest of the columns and ceilings were also brightly painted. On the roof of the temple, symbolizing heaven, there were often images of stars and birds, and on the columns - images of palm trees, lotuses, and people.

Human feelings appeared as an element of temple art (screams and groans of hired mourners, here the gloomy obedience of captive blacks and lyrical scenes of Akhenaten's private life - he caresses his wife, plays with a child).

Bas-relief of Pharaoh Seti I from his temple in Abydos.

The burial places of the kings were separated from the temples, they were carved into the rocks in the valleys at a considerable distance and consisted of long corridors leading to the burial room with a sacred sarcophagus decorated with all possible jewels and gilding.

In a small niche on the side of the second pedestal hall, Sarenput sits on a low seat and stretches his arms across the table that is in front of him. Tied with a simple cloth, he wears a short beard. In front of the table, on the other side, the son of the deceased, Anku, is less visible, holding an open lotus, a symbol of rebirth. All the ranks and functions of Sarenput are presented on this wall. To write his middle name, Nub-Kau-Ra Nakht, the Nomarch uses the cartouches of the former pharaoh. Perhaps this is a way of demonstrating the power he possesses.

Particular attention was paid to the illumination of temples - the light entered through holes in the ceiling, through the so-called light wells, and reached up to the 1st floor of the building, but there was a different degree of illumination of the halls, which was used as an additional enigmatic feature when performing certain rites.

Image of artisans in ancient Egypt
Ancient Egyptian artists rarely left us their names. Egyptian works of art are also anonymous because they are often collective. Egyptian art is known for its distinctive tradition of using figures in both sculpture and painting. The figures also have a standard set of proportions measuring 18 "fists" from the floor to the hairline on the forehead. This appears as early as Dynasty I's Narmer palette, but this idealized figure rule is not used to depict small figures involved in certain activities, such as prisoners and corpses.
Other traditions are that the male statues are darker than the female ones. Egyptian art used hierarchical proportions, and the size of the forms showed their relative importance. The gods or the divine pharaoh are usually larger than other figures, while the figures of high officials or gravediggers are usually smaller, and any servants, artists, animals, trees and architectural details are presented on the smallest scale.

Worship of the luminary itself could not take place in the depths of the sanctuary. Temple of the Aten - large open spaces with many places for sacrifices and one large one, on which the sacrifices are made exclusively by the king himself, the son of a god, to whom the true knowledge of the essence of the deity was revealed.

Conditional drawing of a modern cosmopolitan metropolis - concrete and glass jungle!

The synthesis of arts in Egypt became the ancestor of such a symbiosis for subsequent generations. Mesopotamia, Greece, and Rome successfully continued this tradition. Modern Dubai, New York, Paris and Tokyo, and many other modern megacities are transforming and deepening the same centuries-old tradition, giving it a new fresh breath looking to the future! We would like to hope that all this will serve to improve the life of every single person on earth.

Queen Hatshepsut's mortuary temple at Deir el Bahri is one of the most impressive architectural triumphs of antique Egypt. Set into the bottom of the cliffs of the west Nile bank in front of Luxor, the monument is as unique for its location as it is for its strikingly 'modern' design.


Read our next article Bergamo: charm in two cities

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