The art of Ancient Egypt has a very big interest from the esthetical point of view. But its composition, its scenes, its colors… have always a specific meaning.

Marx and Engels. Berlin. Reflexions about the art in Ancient Egypt

Statue of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in Berlin. Photo: Mª Rosa Valdesogo

Before getting into the art of a moment of the history, we should mention some theoretical matters about art and history. Because any artistic expression needs to be understood in space and in time.

In every artistic production there are two main components: esthetic (the appearance the artist wants to give to the work) and the technique (the work procedures). But the art is closely united to the human feeling, his conception of the world, his religious and/or spiritual beliefs. At the same time the artwork is integrated into a country, a region, a city…

So, the artwork is a cultural statement, as for instance the Manueline style of XV-XVI century in Portugal. With the esthetic and the technique, the context (historical, geographical, economic, social, political, ideological…) determinates the nature of an artwork.

Many statues spread in our nowadays cities are a good proof of it. For instance, the monument of Marx and Engels in Berlin is a result of some techniques, but there is also in it an intention of political propaganda. This artwork of the sculptor Ludwig Engelhart would not have existed out of the Marxist historical moment.

Pyramid of Meidum. Ancient Egypt

Pyramid of Meidum. Photo: Mª Rosa Valdesogo

Also a big part of the history of art included in the academic programs is composed by sacred artworks (churches, cathedrals, sacred images…), coming from historical periods with a strong spirituality and where the religion played a very important social and political role. As it happened in Ancient Egypt.

Looking at Ancient Egypt there is a contrast between the royal tombs of the Old Kingdom, with their pyramidal superstructure, which made the pharaoh’s tomb so obvious, and the hidden tombs made during the New Kingdom in the Valley of the Kings. Or among the solar open air temples of the Old Kingdom and the sacred massive buildings dedicated to the ancient Egyptian deity Amon of the New Kingdom.

General view of the Valley of the Kings. Ancient Egypt

General view of the Valley of the Kings. Photo: commons-wikimedia.

So, an artwork is a human production and it is conditioned not just by the author’s skills, but also by the moment and the place where it is produced. Ancient Egypt was not an exception.