Covering three millennia of Egyptian art, this beautifully illustrated volume presents a chronological survey of the monuments and art works of the ruling elite of ancient Egypt. Opening with an introductory chapter on the function and aesthetic principles of Egyptian art that includes a section on material and techniques, this highly readable volume features 150 color and 150 b/w illustrations, accompanied by substantial informative captions. Each historical chapter concludes with a succinct summary of the detailed discussion covered on the preceding pages, and each supports the author's central thesis that the art of ancient Egypt served primarily to bolster the power of the ruling class and support the clearly delineated social hierarchy. The generous use of line drawings and architectural plans supplements the beautiful photographs of temples, wall paintings, sculptures, coffins, and tomb furnishings. An extensive bibliography is included along with a detailed chronology and map. An index makes it easy to find information on such well-known figures as Cleopatra, Nefertiti, and Tutankhamun as well as such topics as funerary practices, fertility figures, and artists' workshops. This book is sure to delight anyone interested in the art and archaeology of the ancient world. KLIATT Codes: SARecommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 1997, Harvard University Press, 272p, illus, map, bibliog, index, 26cm, 97-19458, $24.95. Ages 16 to adult. Reviewer: Rhonda Cooper; Dir., University Art Gallery, Stony Brook, NY, March 2001 (Vol. 35 No. 2)
Robins (art history, Emory Univ.) has produced the first significant general survey of ancient Egyptian art in the English language since Cyril Aldred's Egyptian Art in the Days of the Pharaohs, 3100-320 BC (Oxford Univ., 1980) and W. Stevenson Smith's The Art and Architecture of Ancient Egypt (Penguin, 1981). The first chapter orients the reader in the cultural, technical, and iconographic contexts needed to explore the evolution of the Egyptian artistic tradition in subsequent chapters. Beginning with the predynastic origins (5000 BCE) and concluding in the Ptolemaic Period (304-30 BCE), Robins traces the development of sculpture, painting, funerary and religious art, and architecture with over 300 illustrations, many in color. Unique to this survey is the inclusion of Ptolemaic art and the attention paid to the decoration of sarcophagi, coffins, and mummy cartonnages over three millennia. The text is authoritative and fully referenced with an excellent bibliography. This work will interest general readers as well as scholars and is recommended for all public and academic libraries.Edward K. Werner, St. Lucie Cty. Lib. Sys., Ft. Pierce, Fla.