The Basic Principles of Egyptian Art
The theocratic, polytheistic character of Egyptian civilization and the belief in the afterlife defined Egyptian art, which was always dictated by the pharaoh and addressed to the world of the gods and the dead. With functionality as its main purpose, art did not seek to recreate reality, but to replace it with something eternal. Art, therefore, was where the world of the gods and the dead magically and through various rituals united the eternal with the mundane.
Art expressed the concept of the preservation and continuity of the universe, the world of the gods, the pharaoh, and the dead. Artists represented figures as idealized symbols. Statues of gods were created in order to underline their divine essence, of pharaohs in order to declare their omnipotence on earth, and of the dead in order to secure eternity through perfect, youthful bodies that replaced the deceased’s mummified body, if it were destroyed, and thus become the eternal residence of the Ka (soul, vital energy).