Egyptian Relief Carving and Painting


Artist or Art Form

Egyptian Relief Carving and Painting

Project Type



Kathi Sherman




Davis/ SES

Date of Presentation

Jan. 2003

Resources Used

Books: Westport Library

Website:   British Museum , and other school sites


Project Description

Description: Kids drew daily life scenes on tracing paper, transposed the drawings onto clay by laying paper over clay and piercing with a toothpick the outline.  They added detail to give dimension to the clay using clay tools and picks.  This took 1 hour to complete. We put the clay into plastic bags to keep them form drying out.  The following week they painted the figures with tempera paint.  The paint was absorbed by the clay when dry simulated a “fresco” technique.  A picture is available in the SES artsmarts files.

Materials  Air drying clay slabs ˝ “ thick  and 7”x9” size. Prepared before 1st class.  Clay tools, paint, tooth picks

Presentation Time:   Two 1 hour sessions

Presentation Content

Focus was on subject matter of walls and human form shown in profile with shoulders and torso facing forward. .  Discussed that the use of “perspective” was not employed by artist at this time.  The special concept had not yet emerged in art history. Subject matter was ceremonial, religious and daily life depictions.  Relief Carving and “canon” was discussed.

Ancient Egyptians depicted their ceremonial, religious and daily lives via relief carvings on limestone or painting on plaster-covered walls.  Strict guidelines had to be followed by Egyptian artisans.  The human figure was always shown in profile with the exception of the shoulders and torso, which always faced forward.  Artisans never showed perspective, shadows or concepts of space in their carvings or paintings. 




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