Ancient Egyptian Art: Paintings

There are many aspects of an ancient civilization that can be learned by analyzing the art and literature associated with the land. Historic texts and colorful paintings are just some of the things that archaeologists take a look at when they uncover these hidden gems. It is from these items that researchers are able to unlock the answers to the many questions we have about the past. In this article, we will focus on ancient Egyptian art.


The ancient Egyptians are no different from any other culture in respect to the importance of their art. The lives that these people from the past led are shown throughout their pieces of artwork. A glimpse into how everyday life was conducted can be viewed through the drawing decorating the temple walls. These can also be found along the tombs inside the pyramids. Glass figures and containers are decorated in the fashion of the time. Models of people and animal highlight some of the popular clothing options and companions of the time. Even their jewelry is considered a work of art, highlighting semi-precious stones and gold.


Some of the most recognized drawings are the ones along the walls and pillars. Some of the scenes are as detailed to show ancient Egyptians fishing in the Nile; boating; engaging with one another at the market; having family get-togethers, even baking. On these pillars, the drawings not only illustrated various personal elements connected to the lives of the deceased, but also included instructions. These detailed scripts were supposed to aid the deceased when they finally met the gods during their journey throughout the afterlife. 


The pillars also served as a way to highlight all of the good things that an individual accomplished during their life. Their spiritual self was supposed to be aided with all of the art that surrounded their final resting place. Any issues that they may encounter in the afterlife are thought to be solved by the surrounding artifacts. Some of these works of art depicted things they could eat in the afterlife, as well as the clothing they would wear. Servants and slaves were also added in the pictures. It was thought that all of the things surrounding their dead body would be used when they reached the afterlife. Other items included mummified cats, perfume and jewels.


The most prominent colors in a painting from ancient Egypt often utilized the colors of red, blue, white and orange. There was a process to creating the works of art found within the temples. Artisans would produce a sketch on a piece of pottery and if this effort were accepted, it would be emblazoned on the wall. These painting were created with pieces of charcoal. Color was then added to breathe life into the art piece.


If you were wondering how the ancient Egyptians were able to paint, they created paints made from things found in nature, such as minerals. Fibrous wood was fashioned into paintbrushes that featured frayed ends. Before a painting, the walls were prepped with a mud covering. On top of that, lime was then plastered on. The painting techniques of the ancient Egyptians also evolved over the years. Shading, as well as other layering effects was developed. To this day, we are still in awe of some of the artistic ways of ancient civilizations. We still do not know how the Egyptians created the varnish that added a protective layer to their paintings.