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Art of Ancient Egypt. The New Kingdom and the Late Period

The exhibition features plaster casts of the monuments of Ancient Egypt dated back to the New Kingdom, the Later Period, and the Greek and Roman Period.

The reign of Amenemhat III and hi direct descendants was very stable, but the dawn of the dynasty was distinguished by the weakening of the royal power, internecine feuds, and the invasion of a nomadic tribe known under the collective name of the Hyksos. Only after more than two centuries the rulers of the Lebanese nome headed the struggle against the invaders and returned to Egypt its independence. This is how the New Kingdom began. The territory of the country increased, and the border lands of Egypt were located at the fourth rift of the Nile and in its Delta. Tributary peoples brought to Egypt various valuables, including gold, ivory, ebony, and mother-of-pearl. The Egyptians encountered new cultural traditions and borrowed a lot from the inhabitants of Western Asia, Mediterranean region, and South Africa.

Egyptian sculpture dated back to the middle and especially the second half of the 2nd millennium BC began to feature new trends. The statues became more decorative and bright. Artists tried to portray long folded clothes, huge wigs, and jewelry. During the reign of Ramses II and his descendants (13th century BC) sculpture experienced a period of gigantomania. In order to show their importance, power, and immortality, Ramses II and his heirs – the Ramessides – built colossal statues with impressive proportion and grandeur. The statue of Ramses II from the temple on the isle of Elephantine (on the right wall from the entrance) depicts the pharaoh in the double crown of the unified Egypt with a rod and a whip in his hands.

The Ramessides were the last powerful dynasty of the New Kingdom. After them the country started to lose its might, and finally was conquered by the rulers of Ethiopia. In the 1st century BC Egypt was turned into a Roman province, and the Roman culture started to spread in the Valley of the Nile. The art began to exhibit characteristic features of Roman monumental sculpture. Two statues (to the left from the elevator) depict walking men with their feet put forward in accordance with the Egyptian tradition, but wearing Roman himatia and having typical Roman haircuts.

Egyptian artistic features had been present in the local art until the spreading of Christianity in the Valley of the Nile in the first centuries of the new era.

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