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Egypt Art History Essay

The materials used to create these sculptures symbolized the pharaoh’s timelessness and eternal life, the body of the pharaohs symbolized the power given to them by God, and the formal design qualities showed the religious and political qualities in the statues. The statue of Khafre and Akhenaton reflects the political and religious climates of their time through the use of medium which symbolized the pharaoh’s eternal life and timelessness, and through formal qualities which symbolized the hidden religious meanings inside the sculpture.

The seated statue of Khafre reflects the political and religious climates of his time through the statue’s medium, function, formal qualities of design, and iconography. The statue is made of diorite, an extremely valuable, un-breakable stone, which symbolizes Khafre’s unwavering power as pharaoh. Khafre’s body shows that this was how a king was supposed to be portrayed, a perfect divine being that is flawless. The intertwined lotus and papyrus plants symbolize the unification of Egypt. Horus the sky god is shown extending his protective wings to shelter the pharaoh’s head. The statue plays an important role in the afterlife, it served as a resting place for the pharaoh’s ka, his life force that accompanied him even in the afterlife.

The Statue of Akhenaton showed the political and religious climate that he ruled in through the use of formal qualities, and iconography. Akhenaton’s statue was made of sandstone, different than the un-breakable stone that Khafre’s statue was made of that symbolized his divine power as king. The use of sandstone here shows the abandonment of old kingdom practices. Akhenaton’s body is extremely different and shows him as an androgynous figure attempting to portray as Aton, the sexless sun disk. This statue symbolizes the change in religion, from a polytheistic based belief, to a monotheistic religion centered on the worship of Aten, or Aton, the sun god.

The statues of Khafre enthroned, and Akhenaton from the temple of Aton, reflect the political and religious climates of their time. The formal qualities of both statues represent their political stand and their religious views. Although they are very different, they are also very similar at the same time. Enthroned Khafre shows him as an idealized being with a perfect body that portrays him as a deity and shows his power as pharaoh. The statue of Akhenaton on the other hand, shows himself as a realistic being with curved hips and female like figures. Although he does not look like an idealized being like in the old kingdom, he is still portrayed as a deity trying to imitate the sexless sun God Aton. Akhenaton was able to be portrayed as a deity despite his realistic form due to his political power and his ability to change the country’s religion.

The statue of Khafre and Akhenaton both reflected their political and religious climates through the statue’s medium, formal qualities, and iconography. These statues although very different, are very similar in portraying how a king was portrayed in different times and yet still looked like a deity.


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