The Comparison of Roman Art and Egyptian Art

Art has existed since thousands years ago. It has existed in many different ways, in different places and styles. Art is influenced by different cultures. Different cultures have their own ways of seeing the art. Art is created by different beliefs. Different beliefs create art for different purposes. Art can be a tool to show people’s feelings. People can show their love, anger, happiness or desire by creating artworks. People use this function of art since thousands years ago. Roman Empire and Egypt are old countries with long history. They have their own civilizations.

In this essay, I want to choose two artworks from both Roman Empire and Egypt to compare and analyze. The pair of artworks to be compared are the Cinerary Urn with Offering Scene and the Pseudo-group Statue of Penmeru. The first one to be analyzed is the Cinerary Urn with Offering Scene. It was made in Roman, Imperial period, about A. D. 150. It was made of marble (from the island of Proconnesus in the Sea of Marmara near Istanbul, Turkey). It is 36. 8 cm (14 1/2 in. ) in height; 49. 2 cm (19 3/8 in. ) in width; 41. 6 cm (16 3/8 in. ) in depth. Its classification is tomb equipment.

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It is currently displayed in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the museum purchased it with funds donated in memory of Emily Townsend Vermeule, 2002. On the front, a man wearing a toga pours a libation over a tripod- altar. Next to him are two youths, one of whom plays the double flute. A flute player provides music, a frequent component of ancient sacrifices. A woman raises her hand in a gesture of prayer. She is flanked by a girl. The scene takes place in front of a curtain and is framed by pilasters. The heads of the man and woman are unfinished.

On the right side the eagle of Jupiter holds a victory wreath in its beak. On the left side the peacock of Juno also holds a victory wreath in its beak besides a toppled basket of flowers. Cinerary urns and sarcophagi were usually produced in workshops near quarries and shipped to urban centers for sale. The faces of this couple were prepared for portraits that were never carved, perhaps due to a sudden death and the need to use the urn immediately. As the name of this artwork, the function of it is to store cremated remains of a dead person.

This person might be famous or important. As there are an eagle and a peacock with the victory wreaths on the sides of this urn, the dead person might be a leader or soldier. People made this to show their respect to the dead person. The figures on this urn is to show that people want the dead person’s afterlife to be peaceful. The next to analyze is the Pseudo- group Statue of Penmeru. It was made in Egypt (Giza, G 2197) , about 2465- 2323 B. C. The overall size of this sculpture is 155x 105 cm, 532. 98 kg ( 61×41 5/16 in. 1175 lb. ) Mount: 830. 99 kg (1832 lb. ) It was made on painted limestone. This unusual statue features three adults and two children emerging from a rectangular frame that resembles a doorway. Penmeru occupies the central position, while his wife, Meretites, stands beside him with her arm around his shoulder. The couple’s son and daughter stand on either side of Penmeru, each grasping one of his legs. The children are portrayed in typical Egyptian manner — nude and wearing short hair with a single, long sidelock.

The man on the left ( from the viewer”s perspective) is identical to Penmeru except for the style of his kilt. Oddly, he does not interact with the group. Although we might expect him to be unrelated to the others, the inscription identifies him as a second figure of Penmeru. This is therefore an example of a “ pseudo- group,” in which the same person appears more than once. Statues of this type appear only for a shot period in dynasties 5 and 6. Scholars do not agree on why tomb- owners at this time included multiple images of themselves in a single statue.

Throughout Egyptian civilization, artists developed new types of statuary to address the constantly changing needs of tomb and temple. Some types found wholesale acceptance and entered the general repertoire; others flourished briefly but were subsequently abandoned. The latter is the case with the statue type shown here; it is known only from Dynasties 5 and 6. The inscription, however, tells a different story. Both male figures are identified as Penmeru. A Belgian Egyptologist in the 1920s coined the term “pseudo- group” to describe such sculptures in which the same person was depicted two or more times.

Different interpretations have meaning of pseudo- group statues. Do they reflect the dual nature of Upper and Lower Egypt? Are they representations fo a man and his ka? Do they show the same man at different stages of his life? It is clear that by Dynasty 5, ever- increasing numbers of statues were included in tombs. (One tomb owner had up to fifty representations of himself. ) Pseudo- group sculptures may reflect that trend. Penmeru’s tomb contained three pseudo- group statues, bringing the total of his depictions to seven.

The present example is the only one in which additional family members are shown. The figures are placed inside a frame that mimics the architecture of a door. It is speckled in imitation of granite, a costlier stone than the limestone from which it is actually made. These artworks above reflect the culture during a particular period of time in different places. These two objects were made in different time. The Egyptian one was made about 2500 years early than the Roman one due to the early formation of the Egyptian civilization.

The thematic essay of the Cinerary Urn with Offering Scene is Etruscan art. The style of it is Etruscan art in ancient Rome. The technique of this object is relief sculpture. Its subject matter is funerary art and mythological figure. The main difference of these two objects is that one is a storage and the other is a statue. The Pseudo- group Statue Penmera is also a funerary art. It was made for the tomb owner. It was made to show the position or the social level of the tomb owner. Also, it was made in honor of the tomb owner.

Another difference of the objects is that one is colored and the other one is not. The children figures on the Pseudo- group Statue Penmera is exaggerated, they are much smaller than real children. The people figures on the Cinerary Urn with Offering Scene look just like the real size. Today, artists use art as a tool, a tool that can help them to show their feelings, desire. In the old days, artists’ purpose might be like today also. Art has different styles, the styles depend on what the artist believe, the style is effected by cultures.

And this is why I write this essay, just to let people know that in different place and during different period of time, art is in different styles and it has different functions.

Works Cited

Sign on the wall, 2nd floor, Roman gallery, on pedestal in corner, 2002. 25; Map: orange, gallery 213. Museum of Fine Arts Boston. Sign on the wall, 1st floor, Old Kingdom Funerary Arts long gallery in case; 1912 12. 1484; Map: orange, gallery 105. Museum of Fine Arts Boston. Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt, Volume 45, 2009. By The American Research Center in Egypt.

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