Art History I Exam I-3

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Which of the following would attest to the sophistication of ancient Egyptian society in 3500 BCE?

tomb remains

Which of the following cultures could have been influential in the Predynastic tomb painting, People, Boats, and Animals?


The ancient Egyptians believed the unification of Egypt took place in a single great event. Which of the following is a record of that great event?

Palette of Narmer

Which of the following provided the principal information regarding the reconstruction of ancient Egyptian civilization?

tomb interiors

Mastaba-tomb interiors became quite large and accommodated a number of storage rooms and compartments. What was the function of the tomb shaft that connected the burial chamber with the outside?

provided access for the Ka

Egyptian architects were quite innovative in solving problems. An invention that was seen in its primitive form in the valley temple of the Pyramid of Khafre, the clerestory, became a fully realized architectural element at Karnak. Which of the following describes the functional element?

raised central roof permitting light to filter into the interior

Which of the following is the best explanation for the portrayal of Akhenaton’s body type?

deliberate artistic reaction against the established canon

How does the kneeling statue of Hatshepsut indicate her status as pharaoh?

she is wearing the royal male nemes headdress

The Palette of King Narmer established the convention for state policy represented in art, a policy proclaiming the pharaoh a divine ruler. Which of the following supports this idea?

larger than life representation of pharaoh

Which of the following describes a function of the pyramids?

served as a reminder of the absolute power of the pharaoh

Evidence of the swamp-plant origin of stone columns can be seen in columns at Karnak. Which of the following descriptions supports this?

capitals are shaped as lotus or papyrus

Which of the following describes one of the drawbacks of the fresco secco technique?

colors do not fuse to the wall surface

Why is the Palette of King Narmer unique among surviving Egyptian artworks?

commemorative rather than funerary.

Egyptian art– with the exception of the Amarna period –can be described as which of the following?

conservative and formulaic

Tomb interiors always had scenes of hunting. This was associated with the idea of providing provisions for the ka, and it is also a metaphor for which of the following?

triumph over evil

Whose mortuary temple was located in Abu Simbel until it was moved in 1968 to save it from the Aswan Dam Reservoir?

Ramses II

Which column type was not used by the Egyptians?

geometric with lion-shaped capital

Which of the following is depicted as a hawk or falcon and protector of pharaoh?


Pyramids were most popular during which of the following periods?

Old Kingdom

Tomb paintings were created in which of the following techniques?

fresco secco

The many-columned hall found in an Egyptian temple is called a(n) _____________?

hypostyle hall

In about 3000 BCE, the conventions for representing the human figure that dominated Egyptian art until end of the New Kingdom can be found in which of the following?

Palette of King Narmer

Which of the following plants was commonly used to symbolize Upper Egypt?


A tomb that resembles a truncated pyramid is called a __________?


The god who is symbolic of the river Nile and who dies and is reborn each year is ______________?


How does the pyramid reflect the influence of the city of Heliopolis?

seat of the power cult of Re whose emblem was the pyramidal stone or ben-ben

In the Old Kingdom this structure adjoined the pyramid and was the site where offerings were made to the dead king and ceremonies were performed. Which of the following does this describe?

Mortuary temple

The use of elongated heads and necks and intimate, relaxed poses describes which of the following periods?

Post Empire, Ptolemaic Period

Which of the following describes a building technique commonly used in Egyptian temples?


A magnificent mortuary temple was built at Deir el Bahri for which of the following pharaohs?


Jean Champollion deduced that hieroglyphs were more than just pictographs; he proposed that they were which of the following?

signs of a once-spoken language

What was discovered during Napoleon’s expedition to Egypt in 1799 that was of immense importance in understanding and interpreting Egyptian hieroglyphics?

Rosetta Stone

Describe the importance the Nile played in ancient Egyptian society.

It was the backbone of ancient Egypt (and still is today). The annual flooding provided rich nutrients for the soil on either side of the river, and this supported all life in ancient Egypt by providing an abundance in crop growth. The Nile figured in all aspects of ancient Egyptian life. It provided access to the sea and to international trade and a means of transport and communication throughout the empire.

Why is the Egyptian invention of a clerestory significant?

This structural element raised the roof level and allowed for interior light. This device allowed for light to penetrate the interiors and was subsequently used in Roman basilicas and medieval church design as well.

What are hieiroglyphics?

A system of writing that uses symbols or pictographs.

How does the Palette of King Narmer describe the unification of ancient Egypt?

It presents Narmer larger than life on both sides of the palette. He is depicted wearing both crowns of Upper and Lower Egypt. On the back of the palette he is represented in the high, white crown of Upper Egypt and on the front he is depicted in the red crown of Lower Egypt. The entwined necks of the two feline creatures perhaps represent the unification of Egypt itself under the order of Narmer.

What is the Rosetta Stone and why was its discovery so important?

A stone containing inscriptions in Greek, demotic, and hieroglyphics. It enabled scholars to decipher the meanings of the hieroglyphic symbols and subsequently read the language of the ancient Egyptians.

Why is Hatshepsut significant? What is unique about her mortuary temple?

A New Kingdom Egyptian royal daughter and wife who served as regent for Thutmose III, she then took power herself and ruled as Pharaoh. Her Mortuary Temple at Deir el-Bahri stands as a monument to her greatness; the painted reliefs on the mortuary temple are documents which record her place in history and represent the first ever such effort to acknowledge the accomplishments of a woman.

What is a mastaba?

An ancient Egyptian tomb in the shape of a bench or truncated pyramid.

How does the painting from the tomb of Nebamun differ from the relief on the tomb of Ti when both portray the same type of scene, a hunt?

The portrayal of Ti is stiff and still, and he does not interact with the scene, while Nebamun vigorously engages in the activity. Also Nebamun’s wife and daughter are enjoying the activity with him.

What was the importance of Akhetaton to the development of Egyptian art?

The Pharaoh Akhenaton established the new Amarna artistic style which was relaxed, less rigid. This style depicted the royal family in intimate scenes, unprecedented in Egyptian art.

How do the pyramids of the Old Kingdom represent the sun and rebirth?

It is speculated that the powerful cult of Ra from Heliopolis figured in the design of the pyramid structure. The pyramid itself is a symbol for the sun and according to the Pyramid Texts it is the sun’s rays, which provide the ramp pharaoh uses to ascend to the heavens. It is in the pyramids that the Old Kingdom pharaohs were reborn, just as the sun is reborn every day at dawn.

How does the portrait of Khafre seated on his throne represent the godlike nature of pharaoh?

He sits on his throne with a body of flawless perfection and a face of serenity and majesty. The ancient Egyptian did not need to see a facsimile of the man, this work was not meant as a portrait but rather the summation of the divinity of pharaoh, the brother of the gods and the ruler of ancient Egypt.

What was the canon that was so profoundly important to ancient Egyptian art?

A system of proportions that was used throughout the history of ancient Egypt with the exception of the Amarna period. The canon created the ideal of permanence and enduring timelessness, which was very important to the conceptual and perceptual aesthetics of Egypt. The canon allowed repetition to become permanence. It echoed the changelessness that was reiterated in the visual vocabulary of the ancient Egyptians

How does the chest of Tutankhamen exemplify the standards of Egyptian art?

It presents Tutankhamen as the conqueror and successful hunter. The chest reiterates the perception of Pharaoh as seen in the Palette of Narmer. He is larger than life and he alone controls all from animals to enemies. Even though the theme is traditional the depiction is reminiscent of the Amarna period: fluid, curvilinear line.

Who was Hemiunu and how did he qualify to be immortalized in stone?

Seated statue of Hemiunu (Figure 3-14A). Hemiunu, as the hieroglyphic inscription on the base of his seated portrait statue informs the viewer, was the vizier and seal bearer of Khufu and overseer of the royal scribes. He also held several priesthoods and was the king’s chief builder—that is, Hemiunu supervised the construction of Khufu’s pyramid (FIG. 3-8, top). Befitting his influential position, Hemiunu’s tomb—a solid rubble mastaba with a handsome stone facing—was one of the largest in the cemetery immediately to the west of Khufu’s pyramid, where dozens of mastabas were laid out in neat rows.

How is this stone portrait different in mood from others of the Middle Kingdom?

Seated statue of Lady Sennuwy (Figure 3-17A). It stands in vivid contrast to the brooding portraits of some Middle Kingdom pharaohs (FIG. 3-17) and instead presents Sennuwy as a young, beautiful, and elegant woman in the tradition of Old Kingdom portraits of royal women (FIGS. 3-12A and 3-13).

What story is told on these reliefs?

King and queen of Punt (Figure 3-20A). The relief illustrated here is one of those documenting Hatshepsut’s successful expedition to Punt, a rich kingdom on the Red Sea to the south, famed for its gold, myrrh, frankincense trees, and other exotic natural resources. The reliefs record the sea journey, the precious cargo of gold ingots and incense trees the Egyptians brought back with them, and the people, animals, and houses the Egyptians found in Punt.

Discuss the historical importance of these two works and describe the scenes represented on each.

Palette of Narmer (Figures 3-3) and chest of Tutankhamen (Figure 3-1). The Palette of Narmer becomes a political document recording the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt. It also presents an early blueprint for the canon or system of proportions in Egyptian figural representation. The Chest presents the royal power of Pharaoh not only as hunter but also as conquering warrior. The Chest was painted when Tutankhamen was too young to actively participate in the events the chest recorded but it does represent a return to the traditional after the death of Akhenaton and the end of the Amarna period.

How does this work differ from the conventional Egyptian depiction of figures?

Akhenaton, Nefertiti, and three daughters (Figure 3-33). We see an informal, intimate pose of the couple as husband and wife and mother and father. The scene is a tender depiction of the royal family, contrasting with the formality traditionally used in presenting the royal family. The Amarna Period sought a more relaxed format for portraying royalty and their lifestyles as seen here.

How do these two figures reflect the political and religious climates of their times?

Khafre, Gizeh (Figure 3-12) and. Akhenaton, Temple of Aton (Figure 3-30). Khafre’s divinity and eternal stillness define the nature of the ruler—vigilance for Egypt. It becomes an icon for the enduring power of pharaoh, a statement for eternity and Egypt’s place as a significant power and imposing majesty. While Akhenaton still retains the standard frontal pose of canonical pharaonic portraits, the sculptor has deviated by presenting a long, curving body rather than the heroically proportioned body of pharaoh. This change reflects the aesthetic developed at this time by Akhenaton (Amarna Period), who broke with the traditional gods and established Aton as the only or universal god of Egypt.

What does this structure say about Ramses II?

Temple of Ramses II, Abu Simbel (Figure 3-22). Ramses II proclaims his greatness and his achievements as a military pharaoh (he restored Egypt’s empire) with the overwhelming size of his monument. This structure defines his role and status as pharaoh and brother to the gods.

How does this work conform to the ideal of permanency?

"Fowling" scene from the tomb of Nebamun (Figure 3-28). The scene shows Nebamun enjoying the hunt with his family in the afterlife. It is serves a dual purpose, reminding the returning spirit of the joys of life which can be repeated in death, also becoming a metaphor for the deceased’s journey from life into the hereafter. This scene is repeated in tomb interiors from any period.

How are the structures of these two buildings similar, and what architectural features distinguish them? How were the structural differences related to the function of the buildings?

White Temple, Uruk (Iraq) c.3200 BCE (Figure 2-2) and Stepped Pyramid of Djoser at Saqqara c.2630 BCE (Figure 3-5). The White Temple is a pyramidal shape and constructed of mud brick, a monumental setting for the worship of a god or deities. It is constructed as a stepped platform or ziggurat, with stairs leading to its top but not directly to the sanctuary; it has a bent axis approach. The Djoser complex is the first royal monumental tomb of the ruler or pharaoh, also pyramidal shaped. This complex has a funerary temple attached for daily rituals or ceremonies and becomes a shrine to the deified pharaoh (after his death). Its linear approach is oriented to only one cardinal point; this is a tomb and not a temple platform.

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