Egyptian Sculpture

The monumental sculpture of Ancient Egypt’s temples and tombs is well known, but refined and delicate small works exist in much greater numbers.

Portrait head of pharaoh Hatshepsut or Thutmose III, c. 1480–1425 BC. Egyptian Museum, Berlin. (c) ArchaiOptix

The Egyptians used the technique of sunk relief, which is best viewed in sunlight for the outlines and forms to be emphasized by shadows. The distinctive pose of standing statues facing forward with one foot in front of the other was helpful for the balance and strength of the piece. This singular pose was used early in the history of Egyptian art and well into the Ptolemaic period, although seated statues were common as well.

A common relief in Ancient Egyptian sculpture was the difference between the representation of men and women. Women were often represented in an idealistic form, young and pretty, and rarely shown in an older maturity. Men were shown in either an idealistic manner or a more realistic depiction. Sculptures of men often showed men that aged, since the regeneration of ageing was a positive thing for them whereas women are shown as perpetually young.

Monumental Sculpture

Monumental statues of Ramses II, Abu Simbel.
Colossi of Memnon May 2015 2.JPG
Colossi of Memnon. Two mmonumental statues of Amenhotep III. Luxor. (c) MusikAnimal


Great Sphinx of Giza May 2015.JPG
The Great Sphinx of Giza. (c) MusikAnimal

It is the oldest known monumental sculpture in Egypt and is commonly believed to have been designed, sculpted, and constructed during the reign of the pharaoh Khafre (c. 2558–2532 BC).

This was never recreated but avenues lined with sphinxes formed part of many temple complexes in Egypt..

Avenue of Sphinxes, Luxor. (c) The Times


Amenhotep III, c. 1390–1352 BC, Luxor Museum. (c) Olaf Tausch


Horus. Edfu Temple. (c) Codex

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