Talk - Egyptian Art

Ever wondered why Ancient Egyptians seem to walk so funny? Here’s why. Throughout the history of the Ancient Egyptian civilisation artists adhered to one strict set of rules, which has come to be known as ‘frontalism’. This dictated that, when depicting a person, each part of the body should be shown from its most characteristic angle. Heads, then, were always in profile, though eyes (best viewed from the front) were often both planted onto the side view of the face. The torso was always square shouldered, whilst legs were always positioned walking sideways. Feet were best depicted from the inside, making Ancient Egyptians look like they have two left ones. Clearly these skilful artists did not believe that people really looked like this (some of their pictures of animals and ‘lesser’ humans are remarkably lifelike): they were adhering to a style which they, presumably, felt gave a more meaningful, if less ‘photographically’ accurate portrait of their subject.

This is one theory, at least, and one of the topics which will surely be discussed by Lindsay Harman in her talk about Ancient Egyptian art. This is one of the first events in the Crypt since the council has stopped organising the events there. Whether this is a good or a bad thing remains to be seen. We’d like to go along and hear more; but first of all we’d like to get the Bangles Walk Like an Egyptian tune out of our head. It’s been there all week. That’s definitely a bad thing. AL

Paint like an Egyptian - full frontalism at the Crypt
Crypt Gallery, Seaford
When? 7:30
How Much? £7.50 with a glass of wine
Crypt Gallery
(t) 01273 484400