Updated: Jun 5, 2022
I've always had a fascination for antiquity. I grew up watching Indiana Jones and I guess something about those movies spurred a curiosity in me for the ancient world. Egyptian art in tombs continue to fascinate modern people, possibly because of the mystery that surrounds them. Today I'd like to point out 3 things artists can learn from the ancient Egyptians.
1. Realism is Not Necessary
Ancient Egyptians were entirely capable of constructing life like statues and art, but they didn't always employ realism into their works. Many of their wall paintings feature hieroglyphics, figures and animals, presented in a very stylized and two-dimensional way. I think many artists today feel they need to be able to draw or paint photorealistic images in order to be considered a "real artist". That's simply not the case. What I've come to learn is that, like the Egyptians, real art needs only to convey a message or an emotion, and if an artist can do that, they're 100% legit.
2. Don't Be Afraid of Color
OK, I'm totally biased when it comes to color because I love it so much! If your style of art only uses a narrow spectrum of color because that's what you like to do, then I totally support that choice. But some people don't use color, not because of an artistic choice, but because of fear. I had an art teacher who said color was a powerful tool, but he said it in a way that made it sound like color was too powerful for some people to handle.
It's hard to tell today, but the ancient Egyptian art on walls had color everywhere! They didn't fear color, and neither should you. If you've been reluctant to use bold colors in your art, my advice is to take the plunge and use it.
3. Art in Abundance
Were ancient Egyptians powerful because they were artistic or were they artistic because they were powerful? I mean I totally don't know the answer to that, but something I've noticed is that throughout world history, the most powerful civilizations and the ones whose history is still circulating today, had a strong artistic sense and employed it in profusion. I mean honestly, the Egyptians covered their walls and buildings in beautiful designs, I can only imagine what it looked like during their golden age.
What I take from this is to make sure art is all around you. At home, at work or wherever you spend a lot of time (and if allowed) keep art around that inspires your mind.
These are just a few things artists can learn from the ancient Egyptians. What are some things you've learned from ancient civilizations? I'd love to hear them in the comments below.