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Art From Us MUSEUM GUIDE : The Metropolitan Museum of Art : Gallery 121

The MET : Gallery 121 : Art of the Amarna Period

Art From Us Museum Guide

For Museum GuideArt From Us brings you three works from the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the MET) NY’s Gallery 121. They are :

PAIR OF CLAPPERS 1353 – 1336 B.C., Metropolitan Museum, Art of the Amarna Period

STATUE OF TWO MEN AND A BOY THAT SERVED AS A DOMESTIC ICON 1353 – 1336 B.C., Metropolitan Museum, Art of the Amarna Period

HEAD OF THE GOD AMUN 1336 – 1327 B.C., Metropolitan Museum, Art of the Amarna Period

The Metropolitan Museum of Art : Gallery 121 introduces is to the Amarna period. What is this period in history? Simply put – the Amarna period was a period of Egyptian history that brought about great changes in Egypt.

It is worth noting that the Pharaohs who came after this time-period, tried their best to bury away its existence. As they say, it is the victors who control what we read in the pages of history. To know more about this time-period, read on.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art : Gallery 121

Egypt’s Amarna period was part of the 18th Dynasty. The main characteristic of this period is it’s major political and religious reforms. Within the years that saw this period and its kingdoms flourish there was a spike in creative pursuits.

Creativity under Pharoh Akhenaten

For starters, when Akhenaten became king, he shifted the Egyptian capital to Aketaten. The city was built by him and his wife Nefertiti. Furthermore, religion in Egypt, which had thus far seen the worship of many gods was converted to monotheism. All this took place under the reign of Akhenaten. He decided that instead of worshiping a plethora of gods represented in animal forms, Egyptians should worship only one deity, namely Aten. Aten, depicted as a sun disk with rays became a symbol of eternal life in Egyptian hieroglyphics and art. The Pharoah Akhenaten was very fond of depictions of himself as a sphinx, and the Aten above him. The image below is of such a depiction, housed at The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and is titled: “Relief of Akhenaten as a sphinx”, from – Egyptian New Kingdom, Dynasty 18, Reign of Akhenaten (1349–1336 B.C.) :

It was during all these changes, of thought, worship and action that Pharoh Akhenaten put his weight behind the development and pursuit of creative practices.

Akhenaten’s reign lasted merely 17 years. When he died, his immediate successor Smenkhkare un-did the changes that he had made. The capital city was moved back to Memphis and the polytheistic religious rituals that had been followed hitherto were reinstated.

For those fascinated by Egyptian art and history, we urge you to stroll through The Metropolitan Museum of Art : Gallery 121. It is especially worthy due to the hidden nature of what we find in this particular Gallery.

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