Princess of Amarna Queen of Destiny
Ankhesenamun's Amarna Art Galleria
Although the Amarna Period is synonymous with the Pharaoh Akhenaten; its genesis actually began with the reign of Tuthmosis III and the birth of the Egyptian empire. Conquest and tribute go hand in hand. For the next eighty years the coffers of the Egyptian treasury were filled to capacity. With most economic burdens lifted, the religious intelligentsia and artistic community had a unique opportunity to experiment. For the full eighty years, tentative steps in this direction were taken; minor changes in religious theology were slowly divulged and then appropriated in kind by the artistic community. This subtle incremental experimentation can thus be considered empiracle in origin, and doubtless covertly sanctioned by the highest levels of state.
When Akhenaten inherited the throne of Egypt, all subtle nuances were quickly cast aside. Through the commands and initiatives of the king, religious theology was propelled into a new arena. Artistic representation of this new theology kept pace with the frantic religious innovation. Amarna art seemingly happened overnight. To a logical mind, this argues against a long co-regency between Akhenaten and his father.
Amarna art flourished through the reign of Akhenaten, and is still easily recognized in the reign of Horemhab. It can be subdivided into three stages. The first is commonly known as "Early Amarna". It has often been described as grotesque, which rendered the royal family in strange caricature. Skulls were elongated and faces became angular. Eyes were depicted in extreme slant and the lips were fleshy. Arms and legs were stick-like, while stomachs, buttocks and thighs swelled. Akhenaten's sculptor, Bek, claimed in his tomb that pharaoh himself was the artistic master while he was merely the apprentice. The second stage is "transitory Amarna" and occurred around Akhenaten's eighth regnal year. A less radical and more refined approach is noticed as the style is maturing. The third stage, "Late Amarna", began about the twelfth regnal year and became the quid pro quo. Gone were the angular caricatures, and in their place a softer more humanized and naturalistic style blossomed. Perhaps the best known example of Late Amarna art is the bust of Nefertiti now on display at the Berlin Museum. This magnificent piece was found in the studio of Djutmose, who by this time was the master sculptor in the city of Akhetaten.
No matter which stage or form of Amarna art is considered, every piece captures the eye and invites comment. More change in Egyptian art occurred in this relatively short span of time than in all other Dynastic periods combined, from Menes to Nectanebo II. Humans were allowed their natural born beauty or fault. Emotion in all facets was brilliantly conveyed. Motion, both actual and implied allowed. Unorthodox poses attempted, and composite statuary invented.
By any measure the true gift of Amarna art lies in its timeless ability to convey to all succeeding generations that these ancient people were, after all... just like us. The Galleria is the place where you get to view Ankhes and meet some of the historical people featured in this biography in the form of .jpg graphics. This will also introduce you to the various styles and phases of Amarna art, which differs in most respects from the classic ancient Egyptian art form.
Pharaoh Akhenaten - 82KB
Queen Nefertiti - 122KB
Ankhesenpaaten in Stone - 47KB
Princess with Side Lock - 42KB
Two Princesses? - 83KB
Queen Ankhesenamun - 219KB
Ankhesenamun and Tutankhamun - 297KB
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