African Art History Midterm (Tassili n' Ajjer, Egypt, Jenne-Jeno, Djenne, Nok, Ife, Benin, Yoruba)

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formal analysis

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205 Terms

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formal analysis

analyzing what the visual components of a piece accomplish

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form

components: line, shape, color, texture, mass, space, volume, & composition

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line

an element the length of which is so much greater than the width that we perceive it as having only length

  • Actual: When the line is visible

  • Implied: When the movement of the viewer’s eyes over the surface of a work follows a path determined by the artist

  • lines can be diagonal, horizontal, curvilinear, thick, thin, etc.

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shape

the two-dimensional, or flat, area defined by the borders of an enclosing outline or contour

  • can be geometric/regular, biomorphic/organic/irregular, closed, or open

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color

includes hue, value, and saturation

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hue

the exact shade of a color

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value

the lightness or darkness of a hue. 

  • High: closer to white

  • Low: closer to black

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saturation

the quality or brightness/darkness of a hue (aka intensity)

  • *black and white don’t count because they are not hues*

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biomorphic

describes shapes derived from organic or natural forms

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geometric

normal shaped (textbook definition)

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real texture

the texture of the actual surface of the artwork

  • i.e. fur is soft

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implied texture

illusionistically described surface of objects represented in an artwork

  • i.e. a painting of fur looks soft

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real mass

how dense an object is

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implied mass

the visual mass of the artwork

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space (depth)

Ways in which a 2-dimensional piece is made to look 3-dimensional

  • consists of: diminution, atmospheric perspective, vertical perspective, overlap, 1 and 2 point perspective, modeling, and foreshortening

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diminution

the systematic de-scaling of something in the background

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atmospheric perspective

things meant to be farther away appear hazy and less detailed

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vertical perspective

things towards the top of the image are farther away, while things towards the bottom of the image are closer

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overlap

the object on the top is closer

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1 and 2 point perspective

a system of perspective that utilizes a single vanishing point and causes parts of the image to look as if they recede into the distance

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modeling

making something look 3-dimensional, whether via shading or carving

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foreshortening

rendering objects so they appear to recede in three-dimensional space

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composition

the organization, or arrangement of forms in a work of art; how formal elements interact to create an effect/piece

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realism

a *mid-nineteenth century artistic movement* characterized by subjects painted from everyday life in a naturalistic manner

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representational

artwork that clearly depicts real objects

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naturalism

artist’s attempts to represent the observable world in a manner that appears to describe its visual appearance accurately

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idealization

strives to create images of physical perfection according to the prevailing values or tastes of a culture

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abstract

art that does not represent an accurate depiction of visual reality, communicating instead through lines, shapes, colors, forms, and gestural marks

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partial abstraction

features identifiable objects, people, or landscapes, but these have often been simplified, distorted, taken out of context, or rendered in non-realistic colors

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full abstraction

does not draw any inspiration from visual reality

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expressionism

styles in which the artist exaggerates aspects of form to draw out the beholder’s subjective response or to project the artist’s own subjective feelings

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linear style

using line as the primary means of definition

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painterly style

a style of representation in which vigorous, evident brushstrokes dominate, and outlines, shadows, and highlights are brushed in freely

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content

artworks that communicate ideas, convey feelings or affirm the beliefs and values of their makers, their patrons, and usually the people who originally viewed or used them

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Tassili n’ Ajjer, Algeria (Periods/Cultures/Kingdoms)

Prehistoric Cave Art (12,000BCE - 1,000BCE)

  • Archaic Style

  • Large Wild Fauna Period

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Prehistoric Cave Art (12,000BCE - 1,000BCE) notes

  • encapsulates almost all of North Africa, in and around the Sahara Desert

    • very rocky and largely uninhabitable

    • teople passed through before the Great Desecration, but very few people actually lived there

      • there is archaeological evidence of human presence, but no architectural remains or burial sites 

  • 3 theories as to why people made paintings and carvings

    • Ritual Use

      • people may have interpreted the dramatic change of landscape as the spirit world (?)

    • Trade Routes

      • the sites could’ve been safe campsites and the paintings could be a means of communication for future travelers to warn them of dangerous animals and such

    • Sympathetic Magic:

      • when you do something like creating artwork in the hopes of affecting the real world around you

        • painting an elephant being killed, for example, to manifest a successful hunt

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Prehistoric Cave Art (dates)

12,000BCE - 1,000BCE

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Prehistoric Cave Art (location)

Tassili n’ Ajjer, Algeria

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Artwork ID: “Man: Bodies in Motion”

Period: Prehistoric Cave Art (Archaic Style)

Location: Tassili n’ Ajjer, Algeria

Dates: 12,000BCE - 1,000BCE

Medium: pigment (ochre?) on sandstone

<p>Period: Prehistoric Cave Art (Archaic Style)</p><p>Location: Tassili n’ Ajjer, Algeria</p><p>Dates: 12,000<sub>BCE</sub> - 1,000<sub>BCE</sub></p><p>Medium: <span>pigment (ochre?) on sandstone</span></p>
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“Man: Bodies in Motion” notes

  • very simplified, abstracted bodies, very repetitive, doing simple motions 

  • infrared imaging revealed multiple layers 

    • unsure why they kept painting over one spot when other spots in the caves were available

      • could be a familial thing, each generation paints over the last 

      • could be just updating information, like an animal in the area going extinct

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Artwork ID: “Masked Figures”

Period: Prehistoric Cave Art

Location: Tassili n’ Ajjer, Algeria

Dates: 12,000BCE - 1,000BCE

Medium: pigment (ochre?) on sandstone

<p>Period: Prehistoric Cave Art</p><p>Location: Tassili n’ Ajjer, Algeria</p><p>Dates: 12,000<sub>BCE</sub> - 1,000<sub>BCE</sub></p><p>Medium: pigment (ochre?) on sandstone</p>
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“Masked Figures” notes

  • we have no idea what these are quite frankly

  • shamanism? maybe?

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Artwork ID: “Decorated Elephant Engraving”

Period: Prehistoric Cave Art (Large Wild Fauna Period)

Location: Tassili n’ Ajjer, Algeria

Dates: 12,000BCE - 1,000BCE

Medium: engraved sandstone

<p>Period: Prehistoric Cave Art (Large Wild Fauna Period)</p><p>Location: Tassili n’ Ajjer, Algeria</p><p>Dates: 12,000<sub>BCE</sub> - 1,000<sub>BCE</sub></p><p>Medium: engraved sandstone</p>
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“Decorated Elephant Engraving” notes

  • large rock engravings of wild fauna

    • more expression, movement, and texture

    • fairly naturalistic, strict profiles - observational

  • not on cliffsides, they’re usually underneath and inside sefars

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Artwork ID: “Camels and Armed People”

Period: Prehistoric Cave Art

Location: Tassili n’ Ajjer, Algeria

Dates: 12,000BCE - 1,000BCE

Medium: pigment (ochre?) on sandstone

<p>Period: Prehistoric Cave Art</p><p>Location: Tassili n’ Ajjer, Algeria</p><p>Dates: 12,000<sub>BCE</sub> - 1,000<sub>BCE</sub></p><p>Medium: pigment (ochre?) on sandstone</p>
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animism

the general belief that there's a relationship between the natural world and the supernatural

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composite view/pose

combining different viewpoints within a single representation

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engraving

carving into something

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idea vs. obeservation

cave paintings can be conceptual/descriptive (twisted perspective & exaggerated features to show the idea of reality)

  • they can also be strictly profile/observation (show exactly what you see)

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profile view

a drawing that shows an object as though you were looking at it from the side

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sefar

a rock shelter

  • inside sefars of the Ajjer Plateau are paintings; outside are carvings

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superimposition

images were re-painted over old cave paintings

  • might be informational or interactive

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sympathetic magic

magic based on the assumption that a person or thing can be supernaturally affected through its name or an object representing it

  • perhaps prehistoric people painted hunts/ bovids as a way to ensure a successful hunt

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Ancient Egypt (Periods/Cultures/Kingdoms)

Period: Pre-Dynastic Period (3,000BCE - 2,700BCE)
Kingdom: Old Kingdom (2,650BCE - 2,150BCE)
Kingdom: Middle Kingdom (1,975BCE - 1,640BCE)
Kingdom: New Kingdom (1,550BCE - 1,070BCE)
Period: Amarna Period (c. 1,350BCE)

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Ancient Egypt (location)

Egypt

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Pre-Dynastic Period (dates)

3,000BCE - 2,700BCE

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Artwork ID: “Palette of Narmer”

Period: Pre-Dynastic Period

Location: Egypt

Dates: 3,000BCE - 2,700BCE

Medium: green schist

<p>Period: Pre-Dynastic Period</p><p>Location: Egypt</p><p>Dates: 3,000<sub>BCE</sub> - 2,700<sub>BCE</sub></p><p>Medium: green schist</p>
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“Palette of Narmer” notes

  • ceremonial, not functional

  • hieratic scale

  • sets in motion styles unique to Egypt: 

    • iconography, upright= alive, compromised position= dying/ dead

  • has registers (ground lines to organize space)

  • Narmer seen as god descendant (not a god himself)

  • barefoot: Narmer on sacred ground

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Old Kingdom (2,650BCE - 2,150BCE) notes

  • Egyptian conventions solidified (and stay consistent for another 2,000 yrs)

  • architecture: mastaba --> stepped pyramid --> pyramid

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Old Kingdom (dates)

2,650BCE - 2,150BCE

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Artwork ID: Stepped Pyramid of Djoser”

Artist: Imhotep

Kingdom: Old Kingdom

Location: Saqqara, Egypt (necropolis of ancient Memphis)

Dates: 2,650BCE - 2,150BCE

Medium: limestone

<p>Artist: Imhotep</p><p>Kingdom: Old Kingdom</p><p>Location: Saqqara, Egypt (necropolis of ancient Memphis)</p><p>Dates: 2,650<sub>BCE</sub> - 2,150<sub>BCE</sub></p><p>Medium: limestone</p>
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“Stepped Pyramid of Djoser” notes

  • first piece with a known artist

  • introduces the idea of verticality

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Artwork ID: Great Pyramids of Giza”

Kingdom: Old Kingdom

Location: Giza, Egypt

Dates: 2,650BCE - 2,150BCE

Medium: limestone

<p>Kingdom: Old Kingdom</p><p>Location: Giza, Egypt</p><p>Dates: 2,650<sub>BCE</sub> - 2,150<sub>BCE</sub></p><p>Medium: limestone</p>
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“Great Pyramids of Giza” notes

  • Khafre, Khufu, & Menkaure

  • gets even more complex inside than previous burial sites to ward off grave robbers

  • took 20 years to build but probably should've taken 100

  • continues idea of verticality 

    • maybe supposed to draw you up towards gods? 

    • maybe geometric perfection meant to stand out? 

    • maybe looks like the shape of Ra's sunbeams?

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Artwork ID: “Seated Khafre/Khafre Enthroned”

Kingdom: Old Kingdom

Location: Egypt

Dates: 2,650BCE - 2,150BCE

Medium: diorite

<p>Kingdom: Old Kingdom</p><p>Location: Egypt</p><p>Dates: 2,650<sub>BCE</sub> - 2,150<sub>BCE</sub></p><p>Medium: diorite</p>
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Seated Khafre/Khafre Enthroned” notes

  • seated in conventional way for Pharaohs' depiction 

    • rigid = stability, 

    • fist with scroll = intellectual

    • open palm = unpredictable

    • detached = timeless

  • Horus wraps wings around him (blessed by gods)

  • diorite: rare, hard stone that shines blue in light 

    • blue= Horus's color

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Artwork ID: Menkaure and Queen Khamerenebty”

Kingdom: Old Kingdom

Location: Egypt

Dates: 2,650BCE - 2,150BCE

Medium: graywacke

<p>Kingdom: Old Kingdom</p><p>Location: Egypt</p><p>Dates: 2,650<sub>BCE</sub> - 2,150<sub>BCE</sub></p><p>Medium: graywacke</p>
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“Menkaure and Queen Khamerenebty” notes

  • one foot in front of other to show figures are alive/moving forward

  • very rigid

  • unusual that the queen is shown

  • queen’s pose implies providing support to the pharaoh (likely)

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Middle Kingdom (1,975BCE - 1,640BCE) notes

  • focused on surviving

  • lots of war/chaos/upheaval, so there's not much art

  • Pharaohs trying to keep Egypt above water

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Middle Kingdom (dates)

1,975BCE - 1,640BCE

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Artwork ID: Head of Senusret III”

Kingdom: Middle Kingdom

Location: Egypt

Dates: 1,975BCE - 1,640BCE

Medium: yellow quartzite

<p>Kingdom: Middle Kingdom</p><p>Location: Egypt</p><p>Dates: 1,975<sub>BCE</sub> - 1,640<sub>BCE</sub></p><p>Medium: yellow quartzite</p>
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“Head of Senusret III” notes

  • first pharaoh of the Middle Kingdom

  • looks more stoic, serious, and wise

    • the ideal is now an older, aged face

    • older = more experience = trustworthy leader

      • wrinkles, less full face, sunken eyes

      • the life expectancy at the time wasn’t high, so aging was a privilege

  • the dude with the ears

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Artwork ID: “Stele of the Sculptor Userwer”

Artist: Userwer

Kingdom: Middle Kingdom

Location: Egypt

Dates: 1,975BCE - 1,640BCE

Medium: limestone

<p>Artist: Userwer</p><p>Kingdom: Middle Kingdom</p><p>Location: Egypt</p><p>Dates: 1,975<sub>BCE</sub> - 1,640<sub>BCE</sub></p><p>Medium: limestone</p>
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“Stele of the Sculptor Userwer” notes

  • first 2 registers = hieroglyphs

  • last 2 registers = images

  • the only reason Userwer had a stele is because he was a sculptor and made it for himself

    • common people didn’t usually have that privilege

  • funerary stele

  • manifesting taking care of the dead

  • regional style was very stiff

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New Kingdom (1,550BCE - 1,070BCE) notes

  • most prosperous time in Egypt

  • return to tradition & more art

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New Kingdom (dates)

1,550BCE - 1,070BCE

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Artwork ID: “Hatshepsut Kneeling with Offering Jars”

Kingdom: New Kingdom

Location: Egypt

Dates: 1,975BCE - 1,640BCE

Medium: red granite

<p>Kingdom: New Kingdom</p><p>Location: Egypt</p><p>Dates: 1,975<sub>BCE</sub> - 1,640<sub>BCE</sub></p><p>Medium: red granite</p>
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“Hatshepsut Kneeling with Offering Jars” notes

  • not holding scroll

    • offering jars might be a homage to the people who helped her become Pharaoh

  • nothing to indicate femininity, depicted as any other male pharaoh would be

  • had to be recovered from pieces

    • Thutmose III tried to erase her from history

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Artwork ID: Ramose's Brother May and his Wife Werner”

Kingdom: New Kingdom

Location: Egypt

Dates: 1,975BCE - 1,640BCE

Medium: limestone

<p>Kingdom: New Kingdom</p><p>Location: Egypt</p><p>Dates: 1,975<sub>BCE</sub> - 1,640<sub>BCE</sub></p><p>Medium: limestone</p>
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“Ramose's Brother May and his Wife Werner” notes

  • Ramose was 2nd in command to Amenhotep III

    • “mayor” of Thebes

  • found in tomb of Ramose

    • tomb was never finished b/c Akhenaten moved the capital from Thebes to Tel-el-Amarna

  • lots of texture on hair/ clothes (individuality creeping into style)

  • space makes more sense than Middle Kingdom art

  • all these components show the sophistication of the New Kingdom

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Artwork ID: “Innermost Coffin from Tutankhamun's Sarcophagus”

Kingdom: New Kingdom

Location: Egypt

Dates: 1,975BCE - 1,640BCE

Medium: gold with inlay of enamel and semiprecious stones

<p>Kingdom: New Kingdom</p><p>Location: Egypt</p><p>Dates: 1,975<sub>BCE</sub> - 1,640<sub>BCE</sub></p><p>Medium: <span>gold with inlay of enamel and semiprecious stones</span></p>
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“Innermost Coffin from Tutankhamun's Sarcophagus” notes

  • dressed like Osiris

  • first untouched tomb that archaeologists found

  • shows return to old Egyptian tradition/ideals after whatever the fuck the Amarna period was

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Artwork ID: Last Judgement of Hu-Nefer”

Kingdom: New Kingdom

Location: Egypt

Dates: 1,975BCE - 1,640BCE

Medium: painted papyrus scroll

<p>Kingdom: New Kingdom</p><p>Location: Egypt</p><p>Dates: 1,975<sub>BCE</sub> - 1,640<sub>BCE</sub></p><p>Medium: <span>painted papyrus scroll</span></p>
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“Last Judgement of Hu-Nefer” notes

  • Hu-Nefer was a royal scribe

  • shows continuous narration (same figure shown in multiple times to show the story is progressing)

  • Osiris gets lots of visual mass and the horizontal lines point to him

  • Anubis (Jackel-headed god) leads Hu-Nefer to judgement area, then supervising scales

  • Horus (falcon-headed god) leads Hu-Nefer to Osiris (the green one)

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Amarna Period (c. 1,350BCE) notes

  • Amenhotep III has Amenhotep IV (Amun is the traditional god of the sun; highest god)

    • Amenhotep IV changes his name to Akhenaten and makes Aten the new sun god, and the only god of the new religion

  • Akhenaten has Tutankaten

    • Tutankaten changes his name to Tutankhamun, moves capitol back to Thebes, and reinstates original religion/art traditions

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Amarna Period (dates)

c. 1,350BCE

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Artwork ID: Akhenaten”

Period: Amarna Period

Location: Egypt

Dates: c. 1,350BCE

Medium: sandstone

<p>Period: Amarna Period</p><p>Location: Egypt</p><p>Dates: c. 1,350<sub>BCE</sub></p><p>Medium: sandstone</p>
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“Akhenaten” notes

  • Nemis headdress, beard, crook & whip of Osiris stayed the same

  • more details in clothes and jewelry

  • face is very long & thin, has very defined facial features

  • very curvy & androgynous figure

    • Probably tied to Aten b/c they are genderless and Akhenaten saw himself as the physical manifestation of Aten

  • originally Amenhotep IV, changed to Akhenaten after coming into power

  • things kept from the past: beard and headdress

    • name means "effective on behalf of Aten"

      • not a god himself, but appointed by the gods (this is deviant from tradition of Pharaohs being a god)

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Artwork ID: “Bust of Nefertiti”

Artist: Thutmose

Period: Amarna Period

Location: Egypt

Dates: c. 1,350BCE

Medium: painted limestone

<p>Artist: <span>Thutmose</span></p><p>Period: Amarna Period</p><p>Location: Egypt</p><p>Dates: c. 1,350<sub>BCE</sub></p><p>Medium: painted limestone</p>
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“Bust of Nefertiti” notes

  • wife of Akhenaten

  • very well known for her beauty

    • name means "the beautiful one has come"

  • very idealized image

    • large eyes, long neck, small jaw

    • large headdress gives her head a lot of visual mass

    • these beauty conventions align with the standards of 20th/21st centuries

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Artwork ID: “Akhenaten, Nefertiti, and Three Daughters”

Period: Amarna Period

Location: Egypt

Dates: c. 1,350BCE

Medium: sunken relief on limestone

<p>Period: Amarna Period</p><p>Location: Egypt</p><p>Dates: c. 1,350<sub>BCE</sub></p><p>Medium: <span>sunken relief on limestone</span></p>
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“Akhenaten, Nefertiti, and Three Daughters” notes

  • depiction of the Pharaoh’s children is new

    • The kids look like aliens lol

  • curvilinear style

  • Akhenaten and Nefertiti are portrayed as equals

    • king and queen are the same size, Akhenaten isn’t in the center, facing each other, both are playing w/ the kids, 2 of the kids are facing Nefertiti, similar headdresses, Aten holds ankhs out to both of them, Nefertiti’s seat has papyrus on the sides which was only reserved for pharaohs

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funerary mask

a mask that goes over the mummy's face

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sarcophagus

stone box-like container for the 3 inner coffins

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Nemes headdress

striped head-cloth typically worn by Pharaohs

  • Uraeus = protective cobra often seen on headdress of Pharaohs

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ankh

symbol of life (mortal and eternal)

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hypostyle hall

geometric sections that can be repeated to form a structure

  • in this case, pillars in a square unit that is repeated to form a hall

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stele

upright tablet to communicate information

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hieratic scale

a method of indicating the importance of individuals through relative size, regardless of actual dimensions

  • persons of lesser importance are thus depicted smaller in size in relation to their superiors

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registers

scenes ordered in parallel lines

  • separate scenes and provide ground lines for figures

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