Egyptian art comes from the paintings the Egyptians created in the tombs of rich people when they died. These pictures were supposed to help the dead person out when he or she reached the next world, where the Egyptians thought you lived after you died in this world. At first, carvers had a hard time painting the pictures but in about 2160 B.C. they started taking short cuts and made their work sloppier.
Greek art was much different from the Egyptians art. One of their styles of art was sculpting. In Crete, between about 1700 and 1450 BC, the Minoans produced a lot of medium-sized figurines, mainly made of metal and ivory. The Greeks learned how to make big stone statues from the Egyptians. At this time many Greek men were working in Egypt as soldiers, and so they had a chance to see Egyptian statues and learn how they were made. One Egyptian technique is to have a triangle for the face and two upside-down triangles for the hair. This makes the hair help support the neck, which otherwise might be too thin to hold up the head. Another Egyptian idea is to have one foot a little in front of the other, which also helps the statue to stand up and not fall over. One difference is that the Greeks always made their statues nude (without clothes), while the Egyptian statues always wore clothes. This is because the Greeks thought that men’s bodies were sacred and that the gods liked to see them.
In the Severe style, sculptors began to make statues more true to life, and with more feeling in their faces and their movements. Instead of all being standing straight up and looking sacred and peaceful, now statues began to do things: drive a chariot, carry something, throw a spear, or ride a horse. And sometimes they looked sad, or frightened, or nasty, depending on who they were supposed to be. At the same time, sculptors took more interest in making the muscles and bones look true to life too. The Severe style didn’t last very long, and after about thirty years it was replaced by the Classical style. Greek sculptors began to experiment with honoring the gods by showing the beauty and grace of the human body, especially the bodies of young, athletic men (women’s bodies were still not shown without their clothes).
The sculptors also became more interested in the three-dimensionality of sculpture: people being able to see it from all different sides, and not just from the front. At the end of the 400’s BC, Greece, and especially Athens, was devastated by a terrible war which involved nearly all the Greek city-states, the Peloponnesian War. The end of the war left Greeks too poor for much sculpture, but when people did begin creating new sculpture again it was in a new style. There is more emotion, especially sad feelings like grief. There is more interest in women, who are sometimes shown without clothes now. Portraits of individuals also became more popular. As you can see, Greek art was different from Egyptian art in many ways and Greeks had many forms of art work unlike the Egyptians.
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