A History of Art in Ancient Egypt

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    Storia, Saggistica

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Stated in a few words, that-aim is to trace the course of the great plastic evolution which culminated in the age of Pericles and came to an end in that of Marcus Aurelius. That evolution forms a complete organic whole, with a birthday, a deathday, and an unbroken chain of cause and effect uniting the two. To objectors who may say that the art of India, of China, of Japan, should have been included in the scheme, it may be answered: this is the life, not of two, or three, but of one. M. Perrot has been careful, therefore, to discriminate between those characteristics of Egyptian art which may be referred either to the national beliefs and modes of thought, or to undeveloped material conditions, such as the want or supersti tious disuse of iron, and those which, being determined by the very nature of the problems which art has toisolve, formed a starting point for the arts of all later civilizations. By means of well-chosen examples he shows that the art of the Egyptians went through the same process of development as those of other and later nationalities, and that the real distinguishing characteristic of the sculptures and paintings of the Nile Valley was a continual tendency to simplification and generalization, arising partly from the habit of mind and hand created by the hieroglyphic writing, partly from the stubborn nature of the chief materials employed.

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