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Lecture 1

HISTART 2001 Lecture 1: OSU [HISTART2001] Western Art 1 Lecture Notes: Akhenaten & The Amarna Period

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History of Art
Karl Whittington

Statue and Relief of Akhenaten, Egypt, ca. 1353-1335 BCE (3-30, 3-33) -Describe the religious changes that the pharaoh Akhenaten instituted during his reign. ● He changed the religion from polytheistic (many gods) to monotheistic (one god) ● Before, the sun God was Amun (Amun-Re) and people worshipped many other Gods ● After, the sun God (and the only God) was Aten ● It is possible that Akhenaten’s rejection of Amun-Re and these priests was a political move→ these priests were a threat to his power ● Before the change: his name was Pharaoh Amenhotep IV & the main power base was Thebes ● After: Pharaoh Akhenaten and the main power base was Akhenaten (Amarna) ● He placed emphasis on his own living body instead of creating numerous statues to “replace” his own physical body ● He actively suppressed the worship of other Gods ● After he died, people went back to the polytheistic religion ● This was the first recorded monotheistic religion -Describe the strange figural style of the art produced in the Amarna Period under Akhenaten and his immediate followers. What makes this style so different from the so-called “canonical style” of earlier Egyptian pharaohs? What are some of the possible reasons for this strange way of depicting the figure? ● Statue of Akhenaten, from Temple of Aton, Karnak, Egypt, sandstone, 13 feet high, 1353-1335 BCE ○ Very slender figure with an elongated face and body ○ “Expressionistic” = “​typical trait is to present the world solely from a subjective perspective, distorting it radically for emotional effect in order to evoke moods or ideas.” ○ Very defined face with very exaggerated features→ unrealistic ○ curvier→ has a slightly protruded stomach ■ Weak arms, narrow waist, wide hips, fatty thighs full lips, heavy-lidded eyes ○ This style was revolutionary and short-lived ○ Has both male and
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