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Egyptian Art Lesson for Kids: Facts & History

Instructor: Jennifer Lowery

Jennifer has taught elementary levels K-3 and has master's degrees in elementary education and curriculum/instruction and educational leadership.

Ancient Egyptians were famous for creating different types of artwork. In this lesson, learn how religion influenced many forms of Egyptian art, and discover how ancient Egyptians used natural materials to create pottery, paintings, and impressive architecture.

Back in Time

Do want to go back in time to the land of pyramids and pharaohs? While it may be impossible to time travel, you can get an idea of what life was like back then by looking at ancient Egyptian art. Many Egyptian paintings, sculptures, and buildings have survived thousands of years. Let's take a look at some of these pieces and learn how and why they were created.

Natural Materials

If you want to make an amazing art project, where do you go? Probably an art supply store to get things like paints, brushes, and canvases. The ancient Egyptians didn't have the convenience of art stores, so if they wanted materials like paints or paper, they had to make them! Many Egyptian paintings were created on something called papyrus, which was heavy paper created from the papyrus plant.

An ancient Egyptian painting on papyrus
painting

Can you guess what they used for paint? Would you believe plants and rocks? It sounds crazy, but Egyptians were able to use red and yellow colors from rocks containing iron to paint on clay and papyrus. They also used a plant called indigo, which enabled them to dye woven fabrics into a bright blue color.

Inspiration

What inspires you to be creative? For the Egyptians, they had several things that inspired them to create works of art. One big influence was their religious ideas. They believed in many gods and goddesses, and it was important for them to honor these religious figures. One way they did this was by including them in many of their art pieces. A special god was Anubis, who was the god of death. His form was a jackal, which was an animal similar to a wolf. There are many pieces of Egyptian art that include Anubis.

A sculpture of Anubis, an Egyptian god
Egyptian art

The Egyptians believed in something called an afterlife, meaning that after they died they would be able to go to a paradise world. Much of the art they created was meant to travel with someone into the afterlife. In fact, the tombs where people were buried were themselves works of art.

Architecture

You've probably heard about the famous Egyptian pyramids, but do you know what they are? These structures are amazing works of art that had a significant purpose in Egyptian life. These were tombs, or burial sites, for pharaohs who were kings and queens in Egyptian society. Once a pharaoh died, they were placed in the tomb along with many different items needed for the afterlife.

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