The Art and Architecture of Ancient Egypt

By W. Stevenson Smith | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 9
DYNASTY XI 2134-1991 B.C.

THE varied nature of the art of the Middle Kingdom typifies a new age of experiment and invention that grew out of the turbulence of the First Intermediate Period. It returned for strength to the forms of the Old Kingdom, but never recaptured the unity of the Memphite style. It anticipated the sophistication of the New Kingdom and began to look abroad, but without acquiring the international flavour of Dynasty XVIII. Its forms were a little stiff, changing from one locality to another and here and there retaining the provincial mannerisms that are everywhere evident in its earlier phases. Nonetheless there was the power to achieve a meticulous delicacy of craftsmanship as well as a disturbingly brutal strength. At their best the craftsmen showed not only great sensitivity to line, colour, and modelling, but also an intuition of character of which the seemingly happier world of the Old Kingdom had appeared scarcely conscious. While evident in the literature of the early reigns of Dynasty XII which reflects the pessimism of the hard times that extended from the end of Dynasty VI well into the first half of Dynasty XI, this interest in man's feelings towards his environment does not appear to have found expression in sculpture until later in Dynasty XII in the extraordinary heads of Kings Sesostris III and Amenemhat III. These portraits are exceptional in Egyptian art, which at all times showed a reluctance to portray inner feeling. In other ways the Middle Kingdom seems not to have lasted sufficiently long to resolve all its contradictions. This was in one sense a virtue, since much of the initial freshness and vigour was retained until the end of Dynasty XII. Viewed in a broad perspective the early New Kingdom seems to continue a development that was under way in Dynasty XII and was taken up again after the break of the Second Intermediate Period. However, if we examine each period in detail, it will be seen that Dynasty XI and early Dynasty XVIII were times of a renewal of Egyptian civilization, both having much in common with the brilliant Archaic Period that preceded the Old Kingdom.

*

The rule of the first kings of Dynasty XI did not extend farther north than Abydos in Upper Egypt, and the Middle Kingdom was not really founded until the Two Lands were united by Neb-hepet-ra Mentuhotep1 after the subjugation of Lower Egypt about 2052 B.C. This king is certainly the outstanding personality of the early Middle Kingdom. We know him as the builder of a highly original structure, his funerary monument at Deir el Bahari on the western bank at Thebes (Plate 91; Figure 39),2 which inspired the terraced temple that Queen Hatshepsut built beside it in the Eighteenth Dynasty. It consisted of a pyramid in the midst of a columned hall and set on a raised platform fronted by porticoes and approached by a ramp. The outer wall of the hall or ambulatory around the pyramid was in turn surrounded by a pillared portico.

-88-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Art and Architecture of Ancient Egypt
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 301

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.