Ancient Egypt for Kids
Artists & Craftsmen
Ancient Egyptians did not create art simply to create something beautiful Their art was functional. It was beautiful, but it had a purpose. Artists and craftsmen were considered to have the same type of talent - they were all craftsmen. Egyptian art was concerned mostly with the continuation of life. Egyptian craftsmen created protective amulets, tomb paintings, magical enchantments on papyrus, funeral jars, painted pottery to hold nourishment, pottery figures, painted scenes, cartouches, hieroglyphics, ivory grave goods, protective weapons, boats and barks, and other goods that helped to protect and continue life, both in this world and in the afterlife.
The ancient Egyptians used humor in their sketches of animals engaged in human-type activities, such a driving a chariot or beating a captive. These drawings were made typically on papyrus. Some have been found by archaeologists. But humor was never used in art for drawings of people.
Artists had a special way of drawing or painting people. You would be very uncomfortable if you tried to stand in the same position artists painted people. The Egyptians drew heads, eyes, legs, and feet as if you were looking at them from the side. They drew shoulders and chests as if you were looking at them from the front. (You can see this in the picture at the top of this page.) It was uniquely Egyptian, and very distinctive. Men were usually drawn with dark colors and women with light colors.
Good craftsmen were appreciated in ancient Egypt. They usually lived comfortable lives. Craftsmen were not allowed to sign their work. Still, word got around if someone had talent.