Published on Dec 24, 2019

Egyptian Art Background Images

License Info: Creative Commons 4.0 BY-NC

Some of the most common elements in ancient Egyptian art was the depiction of gods and pharaohs. Egyptian craftsmen increased the figure depiction size of their artwork based on how important and relevant that god or king was.

Gods which were more important were shown larger than less important gods and goddesses, and art showing the pharaohs would depict them as larger than all the other elements in the piece.

Religion played a large role in the creation of ancient Egyptian art, and that is why gods and goddesses were commonly represented in the art.


Pharaohs were also considered to be god like or divine so they were common in ancient Egyptian artwork.

The Different Art Time Periods

There are several time periods that are relevant concerning ancient Egyptian art.

The Protodynastic period started around the year 3300 BC.

The Predynastic period of Egyptian artwork also covers the time before the first Egyptian Dynasty, and lasted up until 2680 BC.

After this is the Old Kingdom period, which started in 2680 BC and lasted until 2258 BC.

Art from the Middle Kingdom period dates back to between 2134 BC and 1786 BC.

The New Kingdom time period started in 1570 BC and then ended in 1085 BC, and the Amarna period started in 1350 BC and was prevalent for thirty years until the year 1320 BC.

Art found from the Ptolemaic period dates back to 332 BC and the year 30 BC.

Artwork from each of these time periods differ from what was found in other time periods. Some experts can even date a piece of art simply by examining it closely, and evaluating the style and characteristics used in the creation of the ancient Egyptian art.

The Styles, Symbolism, And Characteristics Of Ancient Egyptian Artwork

Artwork was created following strict rules concerning forms and the three dimensional representations of these.

The elements of nature and life were depicted on the art exactly as these were seen by the artist. The Egyptians preferred art that was complete down to the smallest detail, instead of creating works that were intended to be merely beautiful or highly cosmetic.

The lines of the artwork were very elementary, clear, and cleanly done. Egyptian art also combined simple depictions of shapes and colored areas which are flat and stand out.

Colors were used to symbolize specific meanings.

Green and blue were used to show life and the Nile River, the source of life.

Red was used in ancient Egyptian art to show vitality, power, and strength.

Yellow was used to honor or represent the sun god. Animals were also important and were very popular in ancient Egyptian art.

Due to the dry air of Egypt much of what has been recovered in ancient Egyptian art has been in excellent condition. The colors and pictures still bright and visible today after thousands of years.

Art Mediums

There are many different mediums of ancient Egyptian artwork. Papyrus was a popular one that was used. Papyrus was also one of the earliest forms of paper used by the Egyptians.

Almost all aspects of the Egyptian society can be found written on papyrus texts.

Pottery was another form of art. Many burial chambers have contained pieces of pottery.

Sculpture was another art form practiced in ancient Egypt. Many art pieces from this time have hieroglyphics included on them. Hieroglyphic writing was considered an art form on its own.

Paintings, literature, and funerary art were also popular forms of ancient Egyptian art.

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