The paintings of ancient Egypt were created on several different kinds of surfaces inside the tombs. Some were painted on stone that was prepared with a whitewash or a layer of coarse plaster. Then a second layer of

A scroll from the Egyptian Book of the Dead .

gesso was applied and allowed to dry before the artist began his painting. Other surfaces, such as limestone, could be painted on directly, with no undersurface needed for the paint. The pigments for the paints were mostly made up of naturally occurring minerals. It is not known what binding medium was used, perhaps egg tempera or an assortment of resins and gums. The main colors used for paintings were black, yellow, red, blue, gold, and green. Black paint was made from carbon, red and yellow paint from iron oxide, white from gypsum, and blue and green paint from azurite. After a painting was finished, a varnish was usually applied to protect it. The perspective of most paintings was taken from a profile view and a side view of a subject, such as a person or animal. In other words, people would be depicted with their body facing front but their head facing to the side. In addition, most paintings did not feature a sense of depth but rather focused on a two- dimensional surface. The figures varied in size according to their importance, and a king would often be the same size as a god. Scenes in a painting would be ordered in parallel lines called registers. Each register separated the scene and provided a base or ground line for the subject of the painting. Scenes without a register were meant to represent chaos or disorder and featured subjects such as battles or hunting scenes, with the prey or a fallen army without a ground line. Registers also conveyed the importance of a scene. The higher up the scene on a register, the higher the status of the subject. Text, in the form of hieroglyphs, was important in Egyptian art, too, and would almost always accompany a painting. During the New Kingdom period (c. 1550–1070 BCE) and after, the Book of the Dead was buried with the deceased. This book was considered important because it was an introduction to the afterlife.



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