Art from Prehistory/Ancient Near East/Egypt
Egypt was one of the first locations to show signs of more complex form of Neolithic social organization . One of the most interesting aspects of Egyptian visual culture is its overall consistency , particularly considering the rather lengthy span of time between the civilization rise and fall . Let 's consider , for instance , The Palette of King Narmer dating to c . 3200 BC (Fig . 1 . The palette is arguably the oldest historical work of art known today - since specific historical events can be linked in with the storyline , and individuals can be identified it
can be considered an historical document
The palette commemorates the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt , and depicts at various sequences King Narmer 's triumphant control over the will of his enemies and his subsequent establishment of the Egyptian kingdom . The palette presents the image of a human , which in ancient Egypt was drawn in compliance with standard conventions , to ensure everyone recognizes that it is human in the image . Those standard conventions included feet and legs , presented in a pro to help a viewer understand that it was a foot different was the manner of presenting the torso and shoulders - these parts of the body were facing the viewer the head was presented in a pro but the eyes faced forward
The Palette of King Narmer is carved in a relief manner on both sides of the slate slab , with the visual information laid out in such a manner that a viewer is invited to consider the images as a somewhat symbolic account of the events proper . This use of specific images to suggest more complex ideas is fundamental to the latter notion of written language , as its early connection to pictorial symbols can clearly be witnessed in this work . Take , for instance , the image of King Narmer ominously standing over a kneeling , subservient figure on the obverse side of palette . The obvious distortion of scale between ruler and defeater suggests power and control , while the generalized features of the victim further imply not a specific character but perhaps the personification of the Lower Egypt itself . Thus these images act not just as simple representations of events but also as embodiments in pictorial form of more involved ideas . It is from these conventions that Egyptian hieroglyphs emerge , with certain images denoting various noises or words which connect in various manners to suggest particular ideas
What is perhaps most remarkable about the palette is its clarity of design , enabling the viewer to have access to abundance of information The exaggerated appearance of the figures and the inventive use of a differentiated scale combines in an abstract manner to create an image that is strikingly clear , inventive , and suggestive - the very dynamic of communication
There is in the palette design a set of understood visual language which emerges out of a communally assumed set of symbols . Up until this point art performed an essentially ritualistic function . Yet in this very early example of Egyptian art , a move toward a...