Ancient Egypt: c. 3100 – 30 B.C.E.

Ancient Egyptian civilization lasted for more than 3000 years and showed an incredible amount of continuity. This consistency was closely related to a fundamental belief that depictions had an impact beyond the image itself. For example, tomb scenes of the deceased receiving food, or temple scenes of the king performing perfect rituals for the gods, were functionally causing those things to occur in the divine realm. Egypt’s impact on later cultures was immense. You could say that Egypt provided the building blocks for Greek and Roman culture, and, through them, influenced all of the Western tradition. Today, Egyptian imagery, concepts, and perspectives are found everywhere; you will find them in architectural forms, on money, and in our day to day lives.

Smallest of the Giza Pyramids, the Pyramid of Menkaure still rises to 213 feet—and was home to stunning sculpture.

Pyramid of Menkaure

Pyramid of Khufu, c. 2551-2528 B.C.E. (photo: Dr. Amy Calvert)
Largest of the Pyramids of Giza, the outer casing of this engineering marvel once shone bright white in the sun.

Pyramid of Khufu

The Great Pyramids of Giza
Rising out of the Western Desert—the only remaining monument of the Seven Wonders, the Great Pyramids.

The Great Pyramids of Giza

How was the funerary and monumental art of Egypt meant to be seen and interpreted?

Ancient Egyptian art