(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "The Legacy Of Egypt"

Egyptian Art                        in
number of motifs. For this purpose temple libraries were ran-
sacked, and ancient monuments scanned, so as to discover the
forms of treatment laid down from time immemorial. We can
thus understand how it is that an Eighteenth Dynasty temple
reproduces a scene obviously copied from an Old Kingdom
monument, a scene which serves, in its turn, as model for a tomb
of the Saite period. M. G. Jequier has recently shown that a
large mural in the sanctuary of Pepi II (Sixth Dynasty) is re-
peated in every detail on a Karnak pylon, the relief being
inscribed with the name of Amenhotep II (Eighteenth Dynasty).
The same practice explains the existence of a series of models
from sculptors' workshops, both reliefs and free-standing statues,
reproducing important figures from the royal or sacred monu-
ments. The same procedure can be seen to-day in our Academies
of Fine Arts, where teaching is based on the copying of models,
and for this reason it is permissible to speak of an 'academic'
element in Egyptian art.
This training of artists on a basis of common traditions has
done much to spread the idea that art in Egypt remained sta-
tionary throughout the centuries, fixed by set rules which it was
forbidden to transgress. Nevertheless, it is only necessary to
compare a few scenes of the same type, taken from monuments
of different periods, to see that, although the subjects are as
changeless as the customs which gave birth to them, their inter-
pretation depended on an artistic sensibility and an ideal of
beauty which varied from century to century. Take, for
example, the bearers of offerings from the Tomb of Ti or from
the Pyramid of Pepi II; compare them with those on the tombs
of Kha'emhet and Ramose, and finally with those of Petosiris
at Tunah el-Gebel, and you will have examples which are quite
characteristic of the varied aspects of Egyptian beauty. One
must not, however, be deceived by this into thinking that the
art of Egypt, during its thousand years of existence, had no
decadent periods. On the contrary, it foundered under the