How Did Akhenaten Revolutionized Art

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During the reign of the New Kingdom pharaoh Amenhotep IV, also called Akhenaten, the art of ancient Egypt underwent a considerable change. This is unsurprising given the fact that the shift throughout Egypt in culture and religion was so immense. So, logically, it follows that the stylistic choices in art during that time period would alter significantly. In order to fully understand the extent to which the artists active during the reign of Akhenaten revolutionized art, it is very important to compare the work of that time period with some of the art created during other prevalent eras in ancient Egypt. The greatest dissimilarity is made most noticeable through the representation of the human figure. Through centuries of static depictions…show more content…
Of most prominence is his mouth and chin. As with a lot of representations of King Akhenaten, he is shown in a manner that depicts the fleshiness of his figure, even in his face. His eyes are the next distinct focus. The eyes are depicted in such a way that their thinness highlights even more the protuberant quality of his lips and chin with their unrealistic proportions and even more bizarre spatial placement. There is an element of the portrait that is almost brutal in its accuracy to real life figures. This element is the quality of the skin that is shown surrounding the mouth and on the neck of Akhenaten. The portrait almost irreverently portrays the aging of Akhenaten. This is a surprising compositional choice, particularly given the precedence of depicting the king in former years at the peak of human fitness and youth. Indeed, the whole face displays a drooping quality that is hard to find a likeness to in other…show more content…
The combination creates a likeness of a regal royal who seems to have a lighter side to his personality than many of his predecessors. If the outside of Seti is any indication of the inside of Seti then the perfect proportions of his face certainly contribute to his list of qualities. Additionally, his smooth skin, calm eyes, and smile, combine to create a vigorous king in the prime of his life. Yet, in creating a facial expression that conveys a seemingly acute perceptiveness, the artist has attributed far more than just boyishness to Seti. The calm nature of Seti’s face suggests a sense of control that Seti, as pharaoh, should, of course, possess. Certainly, this relief strikes an interesting contrast to the relief of Akhenaten. When comparing the statues of Akhenaten and Thutmosis III, the complete abandon of traditional elements of composition in the statue of Akhenaten next to the rigid, conventional structure of Thutmosis is so completely disparate that it is difficult to believe the two are from the same culture. The clothing and stately garments are, of course, obviously different. The attire of these two pharaohs is not what is of greatest interest here; rather, the portrayal of these two kings’ bodies is what really captures the

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