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I drove to the Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art with my dad. When we got to the museum it was in a nice building. I was excited to go in and see the Egyptian exhibit because I have always been fascinated with Egyptian art; there’s something about it that makes it so interesting. So, when I walked into the Egyptian Exhibit I was in awe seeing all the artworks that have survived all of these centuries. This was the first time I was able to look at the art pieces and was able to explain the artifact to someone else, and that person was my dad.
For instance, the statue that is on the left is a Statue of a Seated Official that is approximately eight inches in height and four inches in width, in which normally a statue like this would be much larger than this one. The statue was presented in a glass case and at first, I had assumed that this art piece was part of the Old Kingdom since most of the statues were characterized by being very compact, having asymmetrical form, and a block-like shape, however, according to the museum that statue was made in the Middle Kingdom around 1853-1806 BC.
The work is made from a single piece of black basalt which happened to be a popular type of stoned during the middle kingdom. The statue of the official is depicted as stiff and lacks realism, however, it was normal for Egyptian statues to look this way.
The official seems to have muscles in his arms as well as a well-sized chest. The official happens to be wearing a headpiece in order to signify that he had some type of significance in the culture. I like to believe that this piece was normal for its time period, since the art in the Egyptian culture lacked realism and humanism, except for the time of Akhenaten, and tried to establish perfection and idealism-especially when it came to statues portraying pharaohs. The significance of this work is the fact that it showed the perfection of one of Egyptian’s officials and shows that he was an important man since the only people who had statues were those who had authority over Egypt.
Not to mention another reason why this statue is important because it showed that these officials that were portrayed as if they were as perfect and had the same level of authority as the gods they believed in. Another art piece that really caught my attention was the Stela of Sheshonq, it was in this glass case hanging on the wall. The Stela of Sheshonq is around three feet and fifteen inches in height and about one foot 10 inches in width. This piece appears to be made during the New Kingdom of Egypt around the later period dynasties twenty-four to twenty-six. The artwork is made out of limestone, the artwork is a relief in which the figures are carved in a composite view. The man on the right appears to be Sheshonq, the owner of this relief, who offers food- the description states that it could have been loaves of bread and cakes along with a lotus blossom-that is placed on the table and is dedicated to the gods Osiris and Isis.
Osiris is the one who holds the crook and flail, which was a symbol for leadership, and during the time was the god of both life and death. Isis is, on the left to Osiris, who has on a circular headpiece thus representing that she is one of the descendants of the sun god Ra-who appears to be at the top of relief looking down to see the judgment of Sheshonq. Sheshonq, Osiris, and Isis appear to be the main subject matter of this relief and it was normal to show the story of someone crossing over into the afterlife. However, it’s still the same as earlier reliefs of Egyptian figures since it lacks realism and the figures have a bit of a stiffness to them. As said in the description of the artwork, this style of art was common during the time of the Middle Kingdom of Egypt thus carried on into the later ages of Egypt. The artwork is important because it reflects Egypt’s dedication to their polytheistic beliefs and obsession with the afterlife.
Another reason why the relief is important is the fact that it tells the story of what could have happened when Sheshonq died; he offered the gods Osiris and Isis the best he could offer and now waits for the gods to determine whether or not he’ll live eternity in an ultimate paradise or would live an eternity in a place of suffering. This piece of art is one of the most fascinating things I’ve witnessed during my time at the museum; which is this Fish-Shaped Cosmetic Palette. As said in the description this Palette appears to be made Predynastic Period of Egypt- around 3700-3250 BC. This was presented in a glass box and appears to be about eight inches in length. This piece is made out of siltstone and the palette is in the form of a fish-tilapia to be specific; the main reason for it being a fish is due to the fact that during the time of the predynastic period most of the time the palettes were mostly in the shape of fish.
As described in the description of the palette, it informed that the purpose of it is that the tilapia fish is associated with rejuvenation and a cycle of rebirth. During this time of Egypt, it was normal for there to be utilities for makeup such as palettes, yet the only people who were able to afford these items were those who were a part of the upper-class. This palette is important because it shows that Egyptians were obsessed with beauty and would do anything to project their beauty. Another reason why this art was important is the fact that it would help establish a new type of portable art-one in which would be projected on the face of the people of the community. My trip to the museum with my dad was unforgettable. He had asked me questions about the artwork from the Egyptian exhibit and I was able to describe the art. I had used the technical terms that it used to describe the art-like composite view, a register, etc.- as well as what occurred during that time that the object was made.
I felt more knowledgeable about art and felt confident in my skills and knowledgeable of the ancient art and its’ history. At first, before I came to the museum, I was scared that I didn’t have the skills and knowledge to understand the art that was displayed at the museum, but it turns out I was wrong. When I explained the art to my dad, I saw that he was happy that I was actually learning something about the art and was able to explain it in a way in which he was able to understand. All in all, this trip to the museum was not just about going to see Egyptian art, it was something that would help me apply the skills and the knowledge that I gained from taking this course-a skill that now I am extremely grateful for.
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