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Ancient Egyptian and Greek Art

In portraying the human figure, artists employed a style which art historians call ˘frontalism,÷ showing the body and head in profile, but the eye full on, and one foot in front of the other. These drawings also generally depict generalized figures rather than trying to capture individual portraits of specific human beings. Most pharaohs depicted in these portraits are indistinguishable from one another, identified only through the cartouches included as part of the design.

By the rise of Greek civilization, Egyptian artists had been developing their art for close to 2,200 years, and Greek artists, like many others in that part of the world, could not help but be influenced by what had come before. Rhys Carpenter observes, ˘In the course of the eighth century [BC], commercial contact with the eastern borderlands of the Mediterranean brought the hitherto severely isolated Greeks into contact with the long-established and highly evolved art of Syria, eastern Anatolia, Mesopotamia, and Egypt÷ (20). All of these artistic traditions influenced the Greeks, but the Egyptian impact may have been most significant simply because it was so extensive and rich.

Many of the same kinds of images used by the Egyptians found their way into


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