These two sculptures provide insight into two cultures that are highly different, yet share similar qualities. Although Khafre Enthroned and Kroisos, from Anavysos were built hundreds of years apart from one another and in two different parts of the world, they both provide insight to how and why art was created in ancient civilizations.
To begin with, Khafre Enthroned, from Gizeh, Egypt was made from Diorite and can be found at the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. One could tell that this piece of art belonged to the Egyptians, such as the head piece, the chin hair, the wardrobe and the hieroglyphics on the statue all indicate Egyptian style.
Most of the time, large works of art such as Khafre Enthroned are built to commemorate pharaohs. This work was made in honor of Pharaoh Khafre during the Fourth Dynasty, roughly 2520-2494 BCE. The statue is quite large with Khafre seated, the statue is five feet, six inches. If he were to stand, he would appear way taller.
The stone was measured in perfect size grids and then artists distributed body parts proportionally according to the grids. This was often used when creating pieces of artwork for people of high class. The Egyptians had a hierarchy system and the pharaohs, were seen as perfect because they were demi-gods. In Khafre’s case, his feet are pressed firmly on the platform in which his chair rests. The idea of doing this is to create a rigid look, one that creates a sense of domination and conformity.
Their gods were sacred to them and the pharaoh was the closest they could get to being with them. Khafre Enthroned not only represented human or demi-god perfection, but there is historical knowledge being presented by the statue. On the side of the chair in which Khafre sits, there are hieroglyphics. These hieroglyphics portrayed the unification of Northern and Southern Egypt under Pharaoh Khafre.
Kroisos, from Anavysos, Greece, is made from Marble, and stands 6’4″ high in the National Archaeological Museum, Athens. Sometime around 530 bce, a young man named Kroisos died a hero’s death in battle, and, to commemorate his life, his family erected a kouros statue over his grave at Anavysos, not far from Athens. But two generations later, without rejecting the Egyptian stance, the Greek sculptor ren-dered the human body in a far more naturalistic manner. The head is no longer too large for the body, and the face is more rounded, with swelling cheeks. The long hair falls naturally over the back, and the statue is smiling. The pose similar to the Egyptians, in which they are liberated from the stone block. They wanted sculpture to be physically perfect yet alive.
Just like the Egyptians, the Greeks idealized what a perfect human would look like. The Greeks, created statues that represented what a perfect human should look like by creating naturalistic features such as facial expressions, detail to hair, outline of muscle curvatures. When comparing and Khafre Enthroned, and Kroisos, from Anavysos it is easy to see major similarities and differences. Both cultures included this idealization of the perfect human. The Greeks and the Egyptians were fond of their civilizations and saw themselves as the center of the world. Therefore they each had an idea of a perfect human, but how perfect varied for the two cultures. The Egyptians, as shown by Khafre, viewed the perfect human as god-like, one that was rigid, less naturalistic than the style of the Greeks, broad in the shoulders and static. The Greeks believed a perfect human was equally proportioned and muscular, not god-like but hero-like, and much more naturalistic and humanistic. These particular artworks drew them to me because the Greeks created these works of arts, to emphasize human nature, human beauty. The work of the Egyptians was to symbolize the god-likeness of the pharaohs and to represent historical events, such as the unification of Northern and Southern Egypt. Most of the artwork created in Egypt was of people in higher classes (like Khafre). In Greece, this was not necessarily the case. Artists did not have to depict someone famous, a god, or a king to have a sculptor created. Both sculptors, represent a different time in history, different events, different cultures, and different works of art.