Work of Fundamentals of Art History
The image to comment corresponds to the painting of the northern wall of the funeral chamber of Tutankhamun. It belongs to a pictorial work, framed in the period of Egyptian art, specifically to the eighteenth. Since in Egyptian art the authors had no habit of signing their works, we do not know its author. Its dating can correspond to the year 1300 to.C., about. It was discovered in 1922 by the English archaeologist Howard Carter and is located in the Valley of the Kings, in Egypt. The finding was an extraordinary feat that will always be recorded for the annals of Egyptology and History in general.
Egypt was in fertilized lands by the Nile River. The fertility caused by the waters of this river allowed the Egyptians to support their economy on agriculture and livestock as fundamental economic pillars. What nature offered to the Egyptians was the deserts and the waters of the Nile. The Egyptian civilization was developed at an era included around the year 4000 to.C. And the year 30 to.C., date on which the fall of the Ptolemaic dynasty and the incorporation into the Roman Empire occurs . A crucial event was the union of the country in a single territory, under the mandate of Narmer (3.000 a.C., about)
The political system of Egypt was very centralized and based on the "divine" power of the Pharaoh, which had all political and religious powers. Its function was the interlocution with the gods to protect their people and maintain order. . As for Egyptian society, it must be noted that he suffered a remarkable evolution going to "sedentary lifestyle". The structure of society was as follows: the pharaoh, as I mentioned above, held all the power. Below him was a group formed by priests and officials;And finally, representing the social majority, small farmers and slaves appear, with scarce privileges.
Regarding the Egyptian religion, it occupied a main role. Egyptian art is subject to it. Egyptian religion is polytheistic, accentuated in divinity and "beyond". Some of the main gods were: Horus, nut, ra or Osiris, god of the dead and in charge of making a transcendental judgment to the deceased Egyptians to decide if their ka (vital force) and their ba (mood force) could access theLife of the ultratumba, that is, to "paradise"
Egyptian art can be branded repetitive and conservative. The images are not simply representative, the authors intend to "give them life" . Being the art so subject to religion, it is not surprising that most of the works and constructions found are funeral.
The strong colors that they observed in their nature led them to develop an aesthetic in which the color contrast was very important. The plastic expression of Egyptian art is one of its main qualities.
The Egyptian paintings adorned the tombs multiple times, on the occasion of seeking eternity in the life of the oxtratumba. The paintings could be murals, on papyrus or in small fragments of stone or ceramics. The authors were not considered artists, in Egypt there was no mentality of the figure of "artist" or "art for art". Often, the painters did a hierarchical work and the painting and the bas -relief used to understand in the same way.
The pharaoh was a being considered close to the world of the gods and in the works it was used to represent with characteristic features: Postiza beard, symbols of the high and bass Egypt, a double crown as a sign of the country’s unification, León’s tail, León’s tail,a whip or a mace, among other significant attire.
In the necropolis, especially in those belonging to the XVIII dynasty, the contours are more "malleable" and the colors acquire a higher degree of realization, perfecting the representation of the images of the deceased in their tomb.
Egyptian images do not conform to the principles of perspective, and most are in profile. The individualized representations of animals or human beings are frequent, in which the body is composed from joining the various parts of the body. Something that stands out in Egyptian art is the use of the "hierarchical perspective", which consists of the representation with a larger size of those figures that have a greater importance in the work. In general, Egyptian art is an art that represents the desired things, tends a lot to idealization and is also plagued by conventions.
The paintings made in the tombs were very frequent in the Egyptian civilization. In this case, illustrated painting is the one in the funeral chamber of Tutankhamun, preserved as a great treasure, no work is able to enter both the Pharaoh attitude. In the funeral chamber is the Pharaoh sarcophagus. This room is the only one in which we can witness paintings on the walls. The paint represented is a mural paint made on a layer of mortar.
The figures represented are of little stature. Something very striking is the lack of "hierarchical perspective", the characters represented are practically the same size and height, without giving the pharaoh different characteristics to the other figures. The background of the paint is golden color, representing the divinity. The figures are represented following a grid of twenty paintings instead of eighteen as usual. . The scenes are represented to read from right to left, starting on the east wall (where Pharaoh is represented on a sled). The scene continues on the North Wall, in which we can identify three vignettes. The first one represents the resurrection: the priest Ay (his successor), he opens Boca to the Pharaoh with the aim of resurrect. The second is related to divinization: nut, the goddess of heaven receives the pharaoh. This carries a maza and an anj, symbol of eternity on your hands. Finally, the third image identifies with the life of the ultratumba: Tutankhamun embraces Osiris, who receives it in the world of the dead. Pharaoh is accompanied by his ka. The composition continues on the west wall (with some scenes from the Amduat book) and ends on the southern wall with images in which the pharaoh is shown with various gods. From this wall is the one that we have less information, since it is the one in a worse state.
This painting is a sensational pictorial work, of "strong" colors and with great precision and realism when representing the scenes. It is a work of religious and mythological theme and what tries to show us are the different stages that Pharaoh made in order to access the life of oustratumba.
The discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun. Egyptian art has inspired different later artistic conceptions: Egyptian writing or illuminated manuscript are some examples. However, as Fernando Estrada points out in his book "Understanding and loving Egyptian art", "Egyptian art is able to seduce and catch the spirit of those who contemplate it, however, it does not reveal all its secrets"