Ancient Egypt Artists

"had no means of transmitting their own names to posterity"

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It is exceptional that their names survive, for in most cases the ancient Egypt artists whose labors preserved the features or memory of princes, priests and kings had no means of transmitting their own names to posterity.

Imhotep of Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egypt Artists

We hear of Imhotep, the almost mythical architect of Zoser's reign; of Ineni, who designed great buildings like Der-el-Bahri for Thutmose I;

of Puymre and Hapuseneb and Senmut, who carried on the architectural enterprises of Queen Hatshepsut,t of the artist Thutmose, in whose studio so many masterpieces have been found;

and of Bek, the proud sculptor who tells us, in Gautier's strain, that he has saved Ikhnaton from oblivion.

Amenhotep III had as his chief architect another Amenhotep, son of Hapu;

the Pharaoh placed almost limitless wealth at the disposal of his talents, and this favored artist became so famous that later Egypt worshiped him as a god.

For the most part, however, the ancient Egypt artists worked in obscurity and poverty, and was ranked no higher than other artisans or handicraftsmen by the priests and potentates who engaged him.

Egyptian religion cooperated with Egyptian wealth to inspire and foster art, and cooperated with Egypt's loss of empire and affluence to ruin it.

Religion offered motives, ideas and the inspiration; but it imposed conventions and restraints which bound art so completely to the church that when sincere religion died among the artists, the arts that had lived on it died too.

This is the tragedy of almost every civilization that its soul is in its faith, and seldom survives philosophy.

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