The Portrayal Of Ancient Rulers Essay Research

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The Portrayal Of Ancient Rulers Essay, Research Paper The Portrayal of Ancient Rulers Throughout history, the idea of what a ruler is has evolved. In ancient societies the style of leadership evolved from royal leadership to politically appointed emperors. Inheritance of a throne and kingship subsided after Alexander the Great’s world domination. Instead, leaders came to power through political and military prowess, and if their leadership was unsatisfactory they would usually be overthrown. With the evolution of leadership throughout ancient times, came the evolution of art portraying the rulers of the era. The personality and authority portrayed in portraits, employ different means of expression. In the ancient Egyptian sculpture of King Menkaure and his Queen, a

tetradrachm coin of ancient Greece depicting Alexander the Great, and the portrait sculpture of the emperor Philip the Arab from Rome, it is evident that portrayal of ancient rulers in art evolves in accordance with the political climate. King Menkaure and Queen Khamerenebty ruled during the Fourth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom in ancient Egypt, circa 2533-2515 BCE. The 4th Dynasty is associated with the Great Pyramids of Giza. The increasing wealth of the ruling families of the period is reflected in their large, elaborate royal portraits. The statue of King Menkaure and his wife, standing 4’8” high, was found in the Valley Temple of the pyramid of Menkaure at Giza. It is a good example of Old Kingdom royal tomb sculpture, although it is the first known work depicting a couple.

The pair statue of Menkaure and Khamerenebty exemplifies both dignity and marital affection. The statue of King Menkaure and his Queen exhibits with clarity the Egyptian devotion of art to a cannon of proportions. Its strictly frontal view point, the rigid poses of the figures, and a faithful accordance to rules and established customs can be interpreted as manifesting the nature of the Pharaoh’s authority over his subjects while at the same time exemplifying the highly regulated, hierarchical structure of ancient Egyptian society. The measured grid of verticals and counterbalancing horizontals, the stiff artificial postures and the overall idealized anatomical shapes of the bodies combined with naturalism is indicative of Egyptian taste for art and a representation of the

character of Egyptian culture. Menkaure’s stance appears assertive, indicating his power. He is portrayed in the familiar Egyptian pose, with his left leg extended forward, his arms held stiff at his sides and his fists clenched. He is represented as a mature, vigorous man, probably in his 30s. He has slender hips, broad shoulders, and well-developed arms. His body has been made to appear life like; overall he represents the ideal of manly beauty in ancient Egypt. The image of his face and clothing are idealized and indicative of his power. Projecting from his chin is a short, striped, squared-off ceremonial beard. On his head he wears a nemes, or headdress, the sides of which are pulled back behind his large ears and the lappets fall on the sides of his chest. The beard and

headdress are the primary symbols of his pharaonic status. The only other article of clothing he wears is a kilt, which is folded across the front, with one end falling down beneath, and held in place with a belt around his waist. Next to Menkaure stands his Queen, Khamerenebty. She stands in a more naturalistic way than Menkaure. Her right arm reaches around his waist and her left one is bent at the elbow, holding his left arm. The Queen’s gesture serves to bring them unity. Her relaxed pose, her smaller stride forward, the less rigid position of her arms, and her open hands indicate her subordinate position. Therefore, her pose can be interpreted as that of a passive, dutiful wife standing next to her powerful husband. The treatment of her clothing is intended to reveal and