Katherine Mordan Art Survey Research Paper Prof. Lindt 10/23/11 The Colossal Statue of a Pharaoh The Colossal Statue of a Pharaoh is a piece of Middle Age Egyptian art and it was the piece that caught my eye at the MET. The statue was made around 1919b. c-1885b. c. to represent the reign of the 12th dynasty pharaoh Amenemhat II. It is made out of stone, a stone called Granodiorite. It was carved in Aswan and was completed in Memphis near Cairo. The sculpture is a sculpture in the round, meaning that it is a three dimensional figure that is carved out of block. The statue has smooth texture and large in size. It's an normous statue that raises over a crowd of people, which adds a symbol of power towards it. I saw that it's Amenemhat II sitting on his throne; you can see some damage to the sculpture due to time and moving around of the sculpture. It's missing a nose and its beard. The Pharaoh is wearing a kilt and wearing a belt that has a bull's tail attached to it. To Egyptians a bull’s tail is a symbol of their strength according to researchers at the Met. He is wearing a royal head cloth with a royal cobra symbolizing the ruler's power. At the foot of the cubes throne is a bunch of scriptures symbolizing it's meaning to the kingdom.
The statue was made for the Pharaoh Amenemhat II who ruled in the 12th dynasty. This was the most important period in the middle kingdom, he ruled from 1919- 1885 b. c. He first started his reign with his father and then took over a country that his father kept stable and economically stable. One of the things that pharaoh Amenemhat II did was conduct a military campaign in Syria getting prisoners to build pyramids for him. He would also conducts trades with other countries for goods, copper, wood , and stones. During this time art was gaining popularity in Egypt. Some of the Fine jewelry made came from this time.
Stone sculptures like the large Sphinx came from Amenemhat's time. Several years after his reign the sculpture of the Pharaoh was moved from place to place and other kings would alter the statues features to look like theirs; they would carve their names on the statue as well. During the time of the Pharaoh's in Egypt, the kings made sure that the public knew how powerful they were. They made sure that all their artwork symbolized who they were and what strength they had to control an empire. Figures such as a sphinx, lion, snake, bull's tail and falcons, were figures of strength, power and longevity.
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These were symbols that were used in these pieces to represent the kings. Since the king's seemed all mighty and powerful the people of the country would continue to praise and follow the kings; bringing the king's power and prosperity. The colossal statue of a Pharaoh represents power and strength of an almighty king of king's. Amenemhat II wanted his public to know that he was worthy to be king and that he had the power of control. He wanted his people to believe in him and believe he would bring prosperity. Most important of all is that he wanted people to know that no ne could knock him off of his throne; he was the ruler and could do what ever he pleased. In this type of society, in Egypt king's needed to show their public how powerful they were so that people could not overstep their boundaries and knew they were under strict control. Every social class needed to know were they stood; the rich with rich and the poor working for the rich. This piece really caught my eye due to its large size and wonderful detailed structure. It fascinated me to think about how this enormous statue was created back in ancient Egypt and I wanted to share this piece with everyone else.
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