Sample Art Essay Paper on Sculptures


In the past a thousand years, sculpture has had numerous roles in people’s lives, especially in ancient Greece and among Christians and Egyptians. It would be incomplete to talk about arts without mentioning the Egyptians’ rich architecture. Egyptians are known for their artistic sculptures, which are massive and have been preserved for decades. After the sunrise of civilization, most Egyptians used statues to symbolize their gods, while Greeks made statues depicting the formation of men and women. Sculpture is the ancient form of art, since the architects curved the objects before painting. Such objects were primarily used to portray a nation’s monuments (Cooney, 2003). Ancient drawings were curved on rock or earth, thereby acting as the forerunners of sculpture painting. Unfortunately, only few objects are in existence to illustrate the ancient sculptures. However, hundreds of contemporary sculptures have been designed by sculptors who lived in primeval cultures; modern sculptures resemble prehistoric arts. This paper examines the works of an Egyptian artist in an attempt to draw the line between the modern and older forms of sculpture.

For centuries, architecture has been the dominant form of monumental art, which mostly expressed religious devotion. The early art of Egyptians comprised of architecture and paintings, as well as sculpture, among other arts designed artists during Egyptian prehistoric civilization. Egyptian art was rich in paintings and sculpture, full of symbolic meaning(Cooney, 2003). Among the exceptional primordial and renowned architects was Imhotep. Imhotep was the greatest Egyptian architect, designer and physician who also served as the chief minister to the 3rdDjoser to Pharaoh Dynasty. He was the constructor of the first Edfu temple which was situated on the Egypt’s Nile River. Most prominently, he is the renowned artist in the construction of the first monumental building stone, which is Djoser pyramid in Sakkara. This monument rises to a height of 200 feet in six steps and is regarded as the earliest form of religious art in the ancient Egypt(Cooney, 2003). He is further accredited for the construction of the unpolished pyramid step of Sekhemkhet. Not only was he a theorist and a builder, but also a writer who composed architectural encyclopedia, which greatly influenced the Egyptian architects for years after his death. To add to his instigating art on Egyptian pyramids, he was a famous physician who authored primary medical treaties presented in Brooklyn Children’s museum. Imhotep was among the top prominent Egyptian officials and his influence on Egyptian art was incalculable with prolonged effectiveness long after his departure.

Among the government officials, Imhotep constructed king Pharaoh’s tomb. Both the mortuary and tomb complex accommodated within Djoser’s step pyramid, which was designed in Saqqara. This construction was known for its huge scale structure and was incorporated with stone, and was further known for its step-sided Egyptian design, with its indigenous exterior completed using white limestone(Cooney, 2003). This pyramid was grounded on the ancient mastaba. A mastaba was regarded as a simple tomb which consisted of a flat roof with a rectangular structure, designed from mud bricks with minimized slopping walls on its interior and short staircase that led to the deep underground burial chamber which was incorporated with bricks. In construction of Djober pyramids, Imhotep coiled a design of stacking mastabaslayers to form a sequence of steps. Since each mastaba decreased with each staircase, it formed a characteristic of pyramid step. The inner section of the pyramid composed of chapels, tunnels labyrinth, burial segments, offerings room and shafts.

Traditionally, all ancient tombs were designed from wood coupled with mud bricks; which had spasmodicblocks of stones that acted as door jambs, lintels as well as thresholds. However, the designs for Djoser pyramids that were designed by Imhotep incorporated the use of stones. His architectural innovation ushered in modern method of pyramid construction, which introduced the golden era of early architecture in Egypt(Cooney, 2003). This invention period was referred by Egyptians as ‘the old kingdom’ since they witnessed the construction of pivotal monumental pyramids such as the Khufu’s great pyramid; which is among the list of the Seven Wonders of the World, the great Giza Sphinx and Menkaure pyramid among other smaller pyramids.

The tomb of Djoser at Saqqara was not the initial pyramid to be constructed by Imhotep(Arnold, Dieter, Sabine and Gardiner, 2009). He had previously designed several provincial step pyramids, among them the first pyramid of Edfu as well as a structure of mastaba sandstone located in Naga village on the Nile River surrounding Aswan and Esna. Upon king Djoser’s death, Imhotep remained the chief minister even after the leadership was handed over to the new Pharaoh of Sekhemkhet. Imhotep designed another step pyramid for the new king, which was situated in the upper necropolis of Saqqara palace. However, he only designed the first step of the pyramid because Sekhemkhet died prematurely, forming a uniform design, resembling a large Quadratic mastaba shape.

Very little is known about this architecture’s older life and the circumstances of his death. For instance, it not clear whether he lived longer than Sekhemkhet, how long he lived and the cause of his death(Arnold, Dieter, Sabine and Gardiner, 2009). Additionally, his architectural absencefrom arts coincided with his personal archive absence such as his medical manuscripts as well as architectural designs. It is believed that he constructed his own tomb, but very little is known about the location and details of the tomb. Archeologists only presume that his tomb must be around Saqqara, since that is where most of his artistic sculptures are profound.

As the prominent artist of primitive antiquity, Imhotep had distinctive significance. During his hay days, he influenced many through his building designs. Archeologists document that he instigated the use of monumental stones and columns in architecture and his writings influenced numerous architectural generations long after his death(Arnold, Dieter, Sabine and Gardiner, 2009).  His richly creative structures on pyramids was employed and enriched in the developing Egyptian architectural middle kingdom, modern Egyptian architectural kingdom and the late Egyptian architecture. In an attempt to appreciate his great impact on Egyptian architecture, Imhotep is perceived as the chief god of Memphis. He was exalted as one of the gods in ancient Greece and Egypt. Additionally, he was respected by Roman Emperor who designed inscriptions and praised him in their temples.

It should be noted that Egyptian sculpture and art was based on their belief on life after death. The bodies of Egyptian rulers were carefully preserved in tombs, and were allocated goods to cater for their needs in the second world. The substantialand monumental Giza tombs and pyramids were constructed for authoritative and robust leaders. Sculptures were previously constructed using mud combined with wood bricks. However, Imhotep advanced the ancient construction designs and incorporated new medium by introducing new architectural designs by involving tiny blocks but sustaining the previous building characteristics.



Works Cited

Arnold, Dieter, and Sabine H. Gardiner. (2009).The Monuments of Egypt: An A-Z Companion to Ancient Egyptian Architecture. New ed. Vol. 2. London: I.B. Tauris, 2009. 100-190. Print.

Cooney, J. D. (2003). “Egypt’s Pyramids: Early Egyptian Literature Barely Mentions the Pyramids. Can Research Fill the Void?” Science 2.3 (1961): 936-38. Print.