Life in Ancient Egypt - Vol. 2

Life in Ancient Egypt - Vol. 2

Read FREE!

Life in Ancient Egypt - Vol. 2

Life in Ancient Egypt - Vol. 2

Read FREE!

Excerpt

We are so much accustomed to regard the limits of the various branches of the plastic arts as self-evident and natural, that it will seem strange to many readers that it is only to a certain degree that we can recognise these limitations as regards Egyptian art. In Egypt we cannot, as we usually do now, reckon the art of relief as sculpture; it belongs from its nature to the art of painting or rather to that of drawing purely. Egyptian relief , as well as Egyptian painting , consists essentially of mere outline sketching, and it is usual to designate the development of this art in its various stages as painting, relief en creux , and bas-relief. If the sketch is only outlined with colour, we now call it a painting, if it is sunk below the field, a relief en creux , if the field between the individual figures is scraped away, we consider it a bas-relief. The style of drawing however is in all these cases exactly the same, and there is not the smallest difference in the way in which the figures are coloured in each. At one time the Egyptian artist went so far as to seek the aid of the chisel to indicate, by modelling in very flat relief, the more important details of the figure; yet this modelling was always considered a secondary matter, and was never developed into a special style of relief.

Moreover the Egyptians themselves evidently saw no essential difference between painting, relief en creux , and bas-relief; the work was done most rapidly by the first method, the second yielded work of special durability, the third was considered a very expensive manner of execution. We can plainly see in many monuments how this or that technique was chosen with regard purely to the question of cost. Thus, in the Theban tombs, the figures which would strike the visitor first on entering are often executed in bas-relief, those on the other walls of the first chamber are often worked in relief en creux while in the rooms behind they are merely painted.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.