egyptian art—with the exception of the amarna period—can be described as which of the following?
The details of Atenist theology are still unclear. The exclusion of all but one god and the prohibition of idols was a radical departure from Egyptian tradition, but most scholars see Akhenaten as a practitioner of monolatry rather than monotheism, as he did not actively deny the existence of other gods. He simply refrained from worshiping any but Aten. Styles of art that flourished during the brief period are markedly different from other Egyptian art. They bear a variety of affectations, from elongated heads to protruding stomachs, exaggerated ugliness and the beauty of Nefertiti. Significantly, for the only time in the history of Egyptian royal art, Akhenaten’s family was depicted in a decidedly naturalistic manner. It is clearly shown displaying affection.
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EGYPT CHAPTER THREE QUIZ.pdf
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Artifacts from Akhenaten’s reign are instantly recognizable for their unique artistic style. Among the most striking of these pieces are those depicting the king himself, many of which have lead Egyptologists to question the state of the pharaoh’s health and physical appearance. A prime example comes from Gempaaten: an enormous, full-body statue of Akhenaten exhibiting some peculiar characteristics. The king’s face is long and thin, with slit eyes and large, full lips. His figure is equally strange and out-of-proportion, with spindly arms, long fingers, a paunch, and feminine hips and breasts. This particular statue is fragmentary, cutting the pharaoh off at the knees, but from other depictions of Akhenaten that have survived, it can be inferred that the pharaoh’s legs tapered out from large thighs to thin calves ending in elongated feet. At first glance, such a statue is shocking, as it strays so far from the path of typical Egyptian artistic convention. Instead of presenting the image of a young, fit, virile king, artistic representations of Akhenaten convey a very different message. With such strange bodily proportions and facial features, the pharaoh comes across as weak, sickly, and effeminate. Why did Akhenaten choose to be presented to his subjects like this? As pharaoh, he had complete control over the production and distribution of artwork and, therefore, was certainly the driving force behind such bold creative choices. Statues like the Gempaaten colossi have caused many historians to speculate about Akhenaten’s life and the possibility of the pharaoh being afflicted by a genetic disorder. Generations of inbreeding and brother-sister marriages during the 18th Dynasty make this theory a very real possibility. However, most Egyptologists contend that Akhenaten’s striking visage has more to do with religious symbolism than capturing the king’s literal physical likeness.
American museums, for the most part, acquired their Egyptian collections honestly through digs with permits and cooperation, including the division of finds, with Egyptian authorities. The host nation lacked the resources for extensive and expensive excavations. In these and other examples it is clear that by Dynasties One and Two (There is also a Dynasty Zero) all of the characteristics of a true Egyptian style, which will prevail for three millennia, were fully realized. Their naturalism/ realism are uncanny in closely observed details. These elements advance in representations of Zoser (also known as Dzoser, Zozer, Dsr, Djeser, Djésèr) in whose honor the Stepped Pyramid of Saqqara was created. It is attributed to the first known architect, Imhotep. This aesthetic reached its apogee during the art of Dynasty Four and the creation of the Pyramids of Giza.
It is difficult to discern the details of Akhenaten’s philosophy as there are very few official texts from his reign that pertain to religion. There is no “word of god”, no holy scripture and only a short few “Hymn to the Aten” prayers that appear on tomb walls <9> Due to the lack of written sources on Atenism, Egyptologists rely heavily on decorations in tombs and on temple walls. The style in which these decorations are rendered has come to be called the Amarna style, and it is unique in Egyptian history due to its dramatic departure from traditional artistic conventions. The most obvious and notable divergence from typical Egyptian art is the Amarna portrayal of the human body, particularly the king himself. Traditionally the pharaoh had been presented as a young man with a muscular physique and proportionate features. Akhenaten is portrayed in a far less orthodox manner. His arms and shoulders are thin, his face is taut, he has a prominent belly, thick hips and fat thighs. This striking physique led early scholars to believe that Akhenaten was a woman. Artists from this period also included details that had previously been left out such as distinguishable toes, well-defined ears and lobes and even wrinkles in the neck. <10>