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The Nile River
Ancient Egyptian Art is commonly divided up into
three main periods/phases:
Old Kingdom 2636-2185 BCE
Middle Kingdom 2133-1786 BCE
New Kingdom 15-67-1085 BCE
Egyptian art was greatly influenced by the
geography of the region, Ancient Egyptian
civilization developed beside the Nile River.
The Nile River is about
6,670 km in length and is
the longest river in Africa
and in the world.
Although it is generally
associated with Egypt,
only 22% of the Nile’s
course runs through
The Nile river was very important to the
Egyptians because of the following reasons:
(any guesses?)
Transportation (in boats up the river and back
down it- trade and travel)
 Food – for the animals and people
 Fresh water
 Irrigation (water source to draw water from)
 Protection from invaders due to the mountains
to the south and deserts on both sides and the
Mediterranean sea to the north
 Agriculture - Nile flooded each year depositing
rich soil on it’s banks necessary to grow crops
Because of the Nile River, Egyptian
Civilizations emerged along the river banks.
Egypt became a thriving nation.
Agriculture, trade, art, and majestic
monuments and temples were constructed.
Pharaoh – the ruler who governed with
complete authority
Much of the art of the Egyptians was based on
the importance of the Pharaoh. The Pharaoh
was considered to be a God on earth. He or she
ruled with absolute power.
Pharaohs used art and architecture to promote
their own greatness and power.
Much of the art works of Ancient
Egypt is based on the Egyptians
religious beliefs which revolved
around the cycles of nature and
the movement of their sun god
The Egyptians believed that
the spirit of the dead (the
KA) could possibly
reincarnate in the deceased
body after death.
Therefore, much of Egyptian
art is based on the idea of
preserving the body so that
the spirit (KA) could one
day return to the body.
One of the ways in which
they tried to preserve the
body is through
This involved a complex
process of removing various
organs of the body after
death and placing these
organs in canopic jars.
They would also
embalm the body with a
mixture of various oils,
natron and wrappings in
order to preserve the
The body would then be
placed in a 1) coffin of
wood or gold, or 2) a
stone sarcophagus to
be buried.
All of the great pyramids were constructed
during the OLD kingdom
To glorify the
To offer an
impressive resting
To protect the
Pharaoh’s body
and riches from
treasure hunters
Please answer the questions on the handout
given to you in the “Art in Focus” textbook
You may work quietly with a partner
Tomorrow we will take up the answers as a
class. You will be given a grade out of 11