Egyptian ostracons (part 2)
A true masterpiece is the ostracone with the image of acrobatic dance. In a rapid movement, a flexible acrobat leaned back sharply. The moving grace of the figure is emphasized by the falling strands of the wig. An interesting detail: the earring in the ear, not obeying the movement of the figure, remains to hang motionless.
Such conventions can often be observed in ancient Egyptian art, since the artist never sacrifices the purity of the silhouette lines for reliability.
There are drafts among ostracons, which, although with reservations, can be attributed to genre compositions. They are based on direct observation. Such sketches are executed in a fluent, free manner. On a small clay crock, a drawing of a naked girl, crouched in front of a ceramic kiln, was preserved. The artist visibly showed jets of air blown into the furnace, through its transparent walls the vessels standing inside were visible. It is natural to assume that the master who performed this drawing on a fragment of an earthenware vessel painted ceramics.
Drawings on ostracons – thematically the most diverse group of monuments, including sketches of compositions and individual figures included in ritual scenes. These include images of the gods, portraits of the pharaohs and queens, noble nobles and servants. Ostracons with portraits of the pharaohs were a kind of model models. They were made not only in the drawing, but also in the relief. In the ancient Egyptian language there is the word sanh, which figuratively conveys the essence of portrait images. Since the era of the New Kingdom, this word has been used in the meaning of “one who is kept in life through the medium of his image.” Here we are talking about a ritual portrait.
Every portrait, including ancient Egyptian, is designed for recognition, and this is related to the transfer of similarities. According to the beliefs of the Egyptians, the spiritual essence of man — the double of ka, which was believed to exist before it was born, accompanying in the earthly and afterlife, should have “recognized” oneself in a painting or sculpture. So the cult of the dead, suggesting eternal life, contributed to the creation of living art.
The manner of performing portrait ostracons gravitated more towards the canonical art techniques. Even in sketches from nature, the masters adhered to the established system of rules. This concerned the combination of the profile of the head with the face of the shoulders.
Egyptian masters were able to say a lot with expressive means. As a rule, artists masterfully owned the line. By means of lines of different widths, an impression of volume was achieved, and within the contour a feeling of roundness of forms arose.
The ancient Egyptians were wonderful animalists. They endowed a number of animals and birds with divine properties, classifying them as sacred. In the process of embalming animals, the masters comprehended their anatomy, which helped create convincing images.
Beasts in ancient Egyptian art are often represented in the guise of gods. The drawings immediately show whether they are made from nature or are a symbol of sacred animals. For example, sketches of baboons are made much more freely than their images, transformed into the god of wisdom Thoth.
Nevertheless, the elements of the future transformation are already reflected in the drawings, where such a characteristic technique as the combination of the profile of the head and the front of the shoulders was used. By a similar principle, a human figure was connected with the head of one or another animal. Similar types of images, consisting of dissimilar elements, are called syncretic – these include the ancient Egyptian sphinxes with the body of a lion, the head of a man or a ram (sphinxes of the god Amon in Karnak).