WHO WERE THE ANCIENT EGYPTIAN ARTISTS?
The ancient and otherworldly art of Egypt continues to mystify archeologists and tourists alike. Much is talked about in terms of the ancient pharaohs, the kings, and queens, and while all of the stories and documentation of these lives are etched into the walls of tombs and temples, little is spoken about the keepers of this culture; the artisans.
It wasn’t until I made my second journey to the place where history books during my educational years—never referred to as a part of the continent of Africa—that I recognized that a very large part of the history was being overlooked. Yes, we know about the mystery of the great pyramids and the debates about whether or not they were built by aliens. Basic humans muse over the facts that certain stones could not have possibly been transported from one end of the country where they were indigenous to the places where they now reside, blah, blah, and blah. So basic. But I do digress.
The point I’m trying to make in a few short paragraphs is that the artists who created the stories—the ones lining the walls of tombs for the enjoyment in the afterlife, and the architects who carried out the design of tomb interiors and the systems for moving stone – theirs is never the primary story being told.
On my most recent journey to Egypt, the lure to feel the dynamic energy of the pyramids struck me again. The temples and the tombs of ancient pharaohs and kings and queens served to keep my excitement turned on high. I came in search of feeling the warmth of ancient artwork, and the magnificence of the architects of science, medicine, and intellect. I felt all of that and was even more struck by the absence of the artist's stories.
According to Wikipedia, “ancient Egyptian art portrayed an idealized, unrealistic view of the world.” Really now?! I can only assume that this determination was made because no artists were involved in the creation of that post!
I don’t have answers and I don’t know that I’m actually posing a question here. What I do know is that I want to know more about them. We have the story of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel commission. We know that Rembrandt was a prolific painter of the Dutch Golden Age. There are records sharing how Jacob Lawrence's paintings depicted the Great Migration, but what do we know of the “whom” responsible for the magnitude of hieroglyphs, etchings, and paintings represented throughout Egypt?
I'm adding these musings to the list of things to ponder, and in the meantime, am sharing below a few shots from inside the healing temple of Kom Ombo, and the art at Dendera Temple. To truly explore even further, you can read more via the blog, The Urge To Wonder here.