Tamara Shauver:  Ancient Egyptian Art, Pharaohs of the Bible

      This Google Arts Project Virtual Exhibition will present the theme Ancient Egyptian Art:  Pharaohs of the Bible.  This theme showcases the Ancient Egypt Pharaohs found in the historical art textbook, “Janson’s History of Art:  The Western Tradition, Volume I” that also appear in the Holy Bible.  Ancient Egypt is the perfect period in time with which to begin an exhibition of early art because of its place in history. 

According to Unwrapping the Pharaohs,

“There is a widely taught historical view which purposes that we humans evolved from lesser life forms over millions of years, resulting in primitive human species about 100,000 years ago, with human skills developing about 10,000 to 20,000 years ago, culminating in the birth of the first civilizations about 5,500 years ago in Sumer and Egypt.  The Biblical view proposes that humans were created as fully developed, highly intelligent beings about 6,000 years ago, and that there was a destructive worldwide flood about 4,300 years ago with only Noah and his family surviving.  The Bible names on of Noah’s grandsons as Mizraim, the father of the Egyptians.  Thus, Egypt stands out as the oldest continuous civilization according to both worldviews” (Ashton & Down 6). 

      Therefore, Ancient Egyptian art showcases some of the very first visual representations of human artistic abilities.  The great civilization that Egypt was is clearly evident in the architecture, sculpture, painting, and drawing that can still be viewed today.  The monumental, larger-than-life statues of mighty Pharaohs are among some of the most notable and famous works of Egyptian art and is the reason they are showcased in this exhibit.

      Ancient Egypt shares pertinent and intrinsic history with Biblical times and significant events that occurred.  There are numerous pharaohs mentioned in the Bible, however, Ancient Egyptian Art:  Pharaohs of the Bible will display art renderings of five of the most historically noteworthy Pharaohs of that time period – King Hatshepsut, King Sesostris I, King Sesostris III, King Amenemhet III, and King Neferhotep I.  All of these pharaoh kings were actively responsible for the historical events of Biblical proportions such as the appointing of Joseph to rule over Egypt, the horrendous proclamation to murder countless baby boys, the rescuing of baby Moses from the Nile, the enslaving of the Israelite people, and the drowning of a pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea.  Such pharaohs as these represent the great triumphs and defeats of the Egyptian rule at that time. 

      It should be notably addressed that these pharaohs, however great or small, and apart from their intentions, played a significant role in God’s story and the ultimate redemption of His people.  The Pharaohs of the Bible may not have known their Creator amidst their overwhelming presence of mystical and mythical idolatry, yet nonetheless they were used as a living testimony to God’s power, mercy, and reverence.  These Pharaoh Kings experienced the might of something greater than their pagan gods and goddesses; the power of the Almighty God whom was neither fashioned nor crafted by human ability.  Ancient Egypt art speaks of the story of thousands of lives that have been touched by the history of God’s creation and mighty hand.

Works Cited:

Ashton, John F., and David Down. Unwrapping the Pharaohs: How Egyptian Archaeology Confirms the Biblical Timeline. Green Forest, AR: Master, 2006. Print.

PHARAOH HATSHEPUT Artist: Unknown Title: Temple of Queen Hatshepsut Date: 1473 – 1458 B.C. Country: Egypt Size: (Torso) 57 x 41 x 30 cm, (Complete Statue) 170 x 41 x 90 cm Medium: Red Granite The great Pharaoh Maatkare Hatsheput, the most infamous female Pharaoh. Queen Hatsheput was the royal wife of Thutmosis II (historically noted for looting Jerusalem), whom reigned during the 18th Dynasty. According to Janson’s History of Art, “Hatsheput was the chief wife – and half-sister – of Thutmose II. On his death in 1479 BCE, power passed to Thutmose III, his young son by a minor wife. Designated regent for the young king, Hatsheput ruled with him as female king until her death in 1458 BCE. She justified her unusual rule by claiming that her father, Thutmose I, had intended for her to be his successor.” (Davies, Denny, Hofrichter, Jacobs, Roberts, Simon 65). Pharaoh Hatsheput reigned from 1473-1458 B.C. Pharaoh Hatsheput is considered the most remarkable woman in Egyptian history, and rightly so. Her peaceful, prosperous reign and influence left a significant mark on history. Hatsheput is most famously known for her majestic obelisks, stately funerary temple at Deir el Bahri, and portrait statues that depict her wearing the insignia of a male king. Hatsheput, not so commonly known, was also the Queen of Sheba that is mentioned in the Bible. Unwrapping the Pharaohs reveals, “The outstanding event in the life of this remarkable woman [Hatsheput] was her expedition to the land of Punt…The record in 1 Kings 10:1,2 says, ‘Now when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD she came to test him with hard questions. She came to Jerusalem with a very great retinue, with camels that bore spices, very much gold, and precious stones.’…Jesus Christ also identified her as coming from Egypt. He said in Matthew 12:42, ‘The queen of the South will rise up in the judgement with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon.’. Daniel 11:5 and 8 refer to the king of the south as the king of Egypt, so it would be logical to identify the queen of the south as the queen of Egypt. There may also have been another incentive for this visit. Thutmosis I had two daughters, Hatsheput and Neferbity. Nothing more is heard of Neferbity, and scholars assume that she died prematurely, but it is possible that Neferbity was the daughter of Pharaoh whom Solomon married (1 Kings 3:1)…In that case, Hatsheput would have been visiting her sister” (Ashton & Down 121). WORKS CITED: Ashton, John F., and David Down. Unwrapping the Pharaohs: How Egyptian Archaeology Confirms the Biblical Timeline. Green Forest, AR: Master, 2006. Print. Davies, Penelope J. E., Walter B. Denny, Frima Fox Hofrichter, Joseph Jacobs, Ann M. Roberts, and David L. Simon. Janson's History of Art, The Western Tradition. Reissued Eighth ed. Vol. 1. Pearson Education, 2016, 2012, 2011. Print. Tyldesley, Joyce. "Hatshepsut." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica. Web. 16 Apr. 2016. Down, David, and Dr. John Ashton. "The Pharaohs of the Bible." Answers in Genesis. 28 Jan. 2010. Web. 16 Apr. 2016. Unknown. "Tempelbeeld Van Koningin Hatsjepsoet." Rijksmuseum Van Oudheden. Web. 16 Apr. 2016.
PHARAOH SESOSTRIS I Artist: Unknown. Title: Ruler Senusret I Date: 1965 B.C. – 1920 B.C. Country: Africa, Egypt, Upper Egypt, Karnak. Size: Height 76.30 cm. Medium: Granodiorite, Feldspar. Pharaoh Sesostris I reigned during the 12th Dynasty (1908 – 1875 B.C.). Pharaoh Sesostris I, also known as Usertasen, Senwosret, Senusret, and Kheperkere, shared a co-regency rule with his father, Pharaoh Amenemhet I. Sensostris I was responsible for bringing Egypt into a peak of prosperity. According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, “Sesostris became coregent in 1918 bce with his aging father, Amenemhet I, who had founded the 12th dynasty (1938–c. 1756 bce). While his father completed his domestic reforms, Sesostris undertook the conquest of Nubia, to the south of Egypt, and in the year 30 of his father’s reign he led an expedition against the Libyans in the Western Desert. According to The Story of Sinuhe, the biographical writings of a court official, Sesostris learned of his father’s assassination while on campaign in Libya. Leaving the army, he hurried to the capital to seize his inheritance. He undertook a political consolidation by disseminating his father’s testament, The Instructions of Amenemhet, a document that stressed his father’s good deeds and the conspirators’ baseness and reaffirmed Sesostris’s right to the throne” (The Editors of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, Sesostris I). Pharaoh Sesostris I is notably famous in Biblical history for being the Pharaoh King whom appointed Joseph over Egypt. Pharaoh Sesostris I granted Joseph much power during his reign. Unwrapping the Pharaohs states, “Sensostris is known to have had a vizier, or prime minister, by the name of Mentuhotep who wielded extraordinary power, and some scholars have identified this vizier with the Biblical Joseph. Sir Alan Gardiner assigns a date of 1971 - 1928 B.C. to Sesostris I, but by a revised chronology he would have been ruling when Joseph was sold as a slave into Egypt in about 1681 B.C….[Sesostris I] decided to appoint Joseph as the vizier to superintend the gathering of the grain during the seven years of plenty, and gave him extraordinary powers to do it. ‘You shall be over my house, and all my people shall be ruled according to your word; only in regard to the throne will I be greater than you.’ (Gen. 41:40)” (Ashton & Down 82). Works Cited: Ashton, John F., and David Down. Unwrapping the Pharaohs: How Egyptian Archaeology Confirms the Biblical Timeline. Green Forest, AR: Master, 2006. Print. Down, David, and Dr. John Ashton. "The Pharaohs of the Bible." Answers in Genesis. 28 Jan. 2010. Web. 16 Apr. 2016. The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. "Sesostris I." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica. Web. 16 Apr. 2016. Unknown. "Collection Object Details." British Museum. Web. 18 Apr. 2016. <http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=111398>.
PHARAOH SESOSTRIS III Artist: Unknown. Title: Senwosret III. Date: 1836 B.C. – 1818 B.C. Country: Egypt. Size: 21 7/16 x 7 1/2 x 13 11/16 in. (54.5 x 19 x 34.7 cm) Medium: Granite. Pharaoh Sesostris III reigned during the 12th Dynasty (1836-1818 B.C.). King Sesostris III, also known as Senworet III and Senusret III. Unlike all the others pharaohs, Sesostris III ordered his statues to present the reality of his presence; his statues depict him as a disagreeable looking pharaoh. An example of this can be found in Janson’s History of Art, “A fragmentary quartzite sculpture of Senwosret III (r. 1878 – 1841 BCE) indicates a rupture with convention in the representation of royalty. Rather than sculpting a smooth-skinned, idealized face, untouched by time – as had been done for over 1000 years – the artist depicted a man scarred by signs of age. His brow creases, his eyelids droop, and lines score the flesh beneath his eyes” (Davies, Denny, Hofritchter, Jacobs, Roberts, Simon 62). Disagreeable he certainly was, Sesostris III is responsible for completely reconstructing Egypt’s government and oppressing and enslaving the Israelites. Perhaps the worried, stressed, and distasteful look Sesostris III carried was largely due to his oppression of God’s chosen people and ignorance of God’s warnings. Unwrapping the Pharaohs tells, “The texts of Sesostris III reveal him as a strong-minded character who burned the crops of his enemies. On the Semna stela he wrote, ‘I made my boundary, I went further south than my forefathers. I increased what was bequeathed to me…I am a king who speaks and acts. My heart’s intentions are carried out by my arm. I am one who is aggressive in order to seize, impatient to succeed, and who does not allow a matter to lie in his heart…Aggression is valor while retreat is cowardice’” (Ashton & Down 90). It appears that Sesostris III’s chief dilemma was a matter of the heart. There is a vast difference between the pleasant Sesostris I, who appointed Joseph over Egypt and paid heed to God’s words, and the hostile Sesostris II who detests God and oppresses God’s people. Works Cited: Ashton, John F., and David Down. Unwrapping the Pharaohs: How Egyptian Archaeology Confirms the Biblical Timeline. Green Forest, AR: Master, 2006. Print. Davies, Penelope J. E., Walter B. Denny, Frima Fox Hofrichter, Joseph Jacobs, Ann M. Roberts, and David L. Simon. Janson's History of Art, The Western Tradition. Reissued Eighth ed. Vol. 1. Pearson Education, 2016, 2012, 2011. Print. Down, David, and Dr. John Ashton. "The Pharaohs of the Bible." Answers in Genesis. 28 Jan. 2010. Web. 16 Apr. 2016. "Senwosret III." Brooklyn Museum: Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art:. Web. 18 Apr. 2016. <https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/opencollection/objects/3569/Senwosret_III>. The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. "Sesostris III." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica. Web. 16 Apr. 2016. <http://www.britannica.com/biography/Sesostris-III>.
PHARAOH AMENEMHET III Artist: Unknown. Title: Statue of Pharaoh Amenemhet III. Date: 19th Century B.C. Country: Egypt. Size: H. 29 cm, w. 16 cm, th. 20 cm Medium: Basalt. Pharaoh Amenemhet III reigned during the 12th Dynasty (1818 – 1770 B.C.). King Amenemhet II, also known as Amenemmes III, brought economic fortune to his kingdom. According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, “…[Amenemhet III] brought Middle Kingdom Egypt (c. 1938–1630 bce) to a peak of economic prosperity by completing a system to regulate the inflow of water into Lake Moeris, in the Al-Fayyūm depression southwest of Cairo. The resulting stabilization of the water level also drained some of the marshes that had surrounded the old lake. As part of this great work, the labyrinth described by the Greek historian Herodotus was probably built nearby, south of one of Amenemhet’s pyramids at Hawara, in Al-Fayyūm. It was probably a multifunctional building—palace, temple, town, and administrative centre. To celebrate the reclamation of 153,600 acres (62,200 hectares) of land for agricultural use, Amenemhet erected two colossi of himself nearby, also described by Herodotus. A second pyramid, located at Dahshūr, was built for his interment” (The Editors of the Encyclopredia Britannica, Amenemhet III). Along with Pharaoh Amenemhet III’s economic success, he brought destruction. Pharaoh Amenemhet III was responsible for the ordering of all male babies to be killed. Amenemhet III’s daughter, Princess Sobeknefera rescued baby Moses from the Nile River during the innocent murder of baby boys. According to Unwrapping the Pharaohs, “The most likely contender for the princess who adopted Moses would be Sobekneferu, the daughter of Amenemhet III. Amenemhet III has two daughters, but no sons have been positively identified…Josephus wrote, ‘Having no child of her own…she thought to make him [Moses] her father’s successor.’ Certainly there seems to be no historical record of her having a son. When her father [Amenemhet III] died she assumed the throne and ruled for only four years. Having no heir, the dynasty came to an end and was replaced by the 13th Dynasty” (Ashton & Down 92). Works Cited: Ashton, John F., and David Down. Unwrapping the Pharaohs: How Egyptian Archaeology Confirms the Biblical Timeline. Green Forest, AR: Master, 2006. Print. Down, David, and Dr. John Ashton. "The Pharaohs of the Bible." Answers in Genesis. 28 Jan. 2010. Web. 16 Apr. 2016. "Statue of Pharaoh Amenemhet III." - The Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts. Web. 18 Apr. 2016. <http://www.arts-museum.ru/data/fonds/ancient_east/1_1_a/0001_1000/5603_statue_amenemhet3/index.php?lang=en>. The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. "Amenemhet III." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica. Web. 16 Apr. 2016. <http://www.britannica.com/biography/Amenemhet-III>.
PHARAOH NEFERHOTEP I Artist: Unknown. Title: Scarab of King Neferhotep. Date: 1786 B.C – 1665 B.C. Country: Egypt. Size: 15/16 x 11/16 x 7/16 in. (2.44 x 1.67 x 1.14 cm) Medium: Steatite (with modern green color). The lost Pharaoh, King Neferhotep I. Reigning during the 13th Dynasty, Pharaoh Neferhotep I, also called King Khasekhemre Neferhotep I, brings this exhibition to a close. According to Bible History Online, “Neferhotep I was the 22nd king of the 13th Dynasty. He ruled Egypt from 1696 till 1686 BC. He was the son of a temple priest in Abydos. His father's position helped him to gain the royal image as the king because he did not have any royal blood in his family. Neferhotep is inspirited on some stones discovered near Byblos. Also, they found other stones in Aswan that were carved with texts which documents all his reign. It seems that all his power reached the Delta in the north and the Nubian Nome in the south” (Bible History Online, Ancient Egypt: Neferhotep I). Pharaoh Neferhotep I was the Pharaoh King who refused to let the Israelites go and who also drowned in the Red Sea with his royal army. Unwrapping the Pharaohs reveals, “A measure of stability seems to have been restored under Neferhotep I whose statues are to be found in the Cairo and Bologna Museums. He was apparently the last king before the Asiatic slaves suddenly disappeared from Kahun. Dr. Rosalie David wrote in her book The Pyramid Builders of Ancient Egypt, ‘Scarabs are useful in dating sites, because they are frequently inscribed with the names of current rulers. Here a scarab inscribed with the name of King Neferhotep of the 13th Dynasty, found in a room near the center of the town together with some papyri, is the latest dated object from the first occupation of the town, and can assist in establishing a chronology of events at Kahun.’ So it may have been during the reign of Nerferhotep I that Moses returned from Midian and confronted Pharaoh with the demand, ‘Let my people go,’ to which the king haughtily replied, ‘Who is the LORD that I should obey his voice to let Israel go. I do not know the LORD, nor will I let Israel go’ (Exodus 5:1-2)” (Ashton & Down 98). Pharaoh Neferhotep I’s tomb has never been found. Works Cited: Ashton, John F., and David Down. Unwrapping the Pharaohs: How Egyptian Archaeology Confirms the Biblical Timeline. Green Forest, AR: Master, 2006. Print. Bible History Online. "Ancient Egypt: Neferhotep I". Resources for Ancient Biblical Studies. 2016. Web. 13 May 2016. <http://www.bible-history.com/links.php?cat=46>. Down, David, and Dr. John Ashton. "The Pharaohs of the Bible." Answers in Genesis. 28 Jan. 2010. Web. 16 Apr. 2016. "Scarab of a King Neferhotep." LACMA Collections. Web. 18 Apr. 2016. <http://collections.lacma.org/node/253897>.
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