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Egyptian Art

Egyptian art is very important as most of what we know about ancient Egypt comes from
the art that has been found on tomb and temple walls
A lot of art work has been preserved throughout Egypt because of its warm and dry
weather (no frost or rain to wash it away)
The ancient Egyptians didn’t really draw and paint for fun like we might do – all of their
tomb and temple art was for a reason.
The ancient Egyptians believed that went you died you just went to live somewhere else
and carried on your life as it was, so most of drawings we see show pictures of your life
and what is like when you are dead.
Most drawings we see on tomb walls are pictures of everyday life such as dancing, eating
and pictures of what you did for a living, for instance if you were a farmer then there
would be lots of pictures of cattle and wheat etc.

They treated the paintings almost like they were diagrams and there was a particular way of drawing pictures which they had to keep to. who worked in teams and were supervised by a draughtsman – a type of supervisor who was the artist in charge. and the drawings were meant to tell you facts rather than being lifelike.How the paintings were done The drawing and painting of tomb and temple walls was carried out by workmen. . The draughtsman in charge would draw a picture onto a piece of papyrus that would then be copied onto the wall by the workmen. There would be several teams working on various bits of the tomb at once and there would be a supervisor overseeing each team. The workmen would have had many years of training in how to transfer small drawings onto large walls and the supervisor would make any changes or correct any mistakes that they made.

If the wall was particularly bumpy they would cover the whole thing with a coat of plaster until it was completely flat or if it was really bad they would put on a layer of straw mixed with mud then a layer of plaster over the top of that. The drawing would then be coloured in starting with the background first. The walls where then marked out in a grid to enable them to transfer the small drawing onto the big wall and keep everything in proportion. Lines were made by dipping string into red paint then stretching it across the walls and snapping it against the walls so that it left a straight red line ( like plumb lines today) The lines would disappear when the drawing was completed as they would be covered by paint. . The small drawing would also have a grid over it and the workmen would simply draw the picture square by square in red paint until it was completed.How they did it When they were going to paint a tomb or temple wall they would first polish the stone wall (they were cut from solid rock) until it was smooth. They would fill in any cracks or holes with plaster (like polyfiller) until the all the walls were even and smooth. Palettes have been found very similar to the ones we use today with spaces for brushes which where probably used by the draughtsman for toughing up colours as he inspected the work. and when it was all done the draughtsman would go over all the outlines again in black so that the picture would look sharper. with a type of sandpaper. The draughtsman in charge would then go over all the outlines in black. Painting brushes were made from either palm fibres doubled over and tied together or from pieces of wood chewed or hammered out at one end until the fibres split. separate brushes were kept for each colour and perhaps each workman was responsible for painting just one colour bit like colouring by numbers.

Black was made from charcoal or any kind of soot. All of the colours were made from natural minerals that were found in Egypt. yellow. blue. Red came from red ochre or red iron oxide Yellow came from yellow ochre or orpiment (a form of arsenic) Blue came from azurite (copper) or was made artificially from silica. and green. White came from gypsum or calcium carbonate. Green came from malachite. The minerals were ground into a powder in a pestle and mortar then had some sort of gum added to make it into a paste so it would stick to the wall (water would have been no good as it would have soaked into the plaster).Paint The workmen had limited colours to work with the basic ones were red. . black and white. copper and calcium mixed together.

How they drew people They way the ancient Egyptians drew people was very strange and not at all life like. From the chest down everything else was shown in profile. Half a mouth was shown as in profile. The head was shown in profile. Figures were shown in a variety of poses but these basic rules were always followed. Both feet were draw as if they were the same and from an inside view with just a single toe and an arch. Hands were shown in full view either open or clenched and not always with individual fingers. The eye and eyebrow was shown full on. . Shoulders were shown full width from the front.