Amarna period

Amarna period (or Amarna) in the history of ancient Egypt, it is customary to call the epoch of the reign of the pharaoh of the XVIII dynasty of Akhenaten (1351-1334 BC). Amarna became a bright flash, stirring up the traditional Egyptian culture, a kind of revolution, the echoes of which were heard throughout the subsequent ancient Egyptian history.

Under Amenhotep III (1388-1351 BC), Egypt is flourishing. He is buried in luxury. The power of the pharaoh becomes truly unlimited, even to the point that Amenhotep III is revered as a god. Together with the veneration of the pharaoh unprecedented scope reaches the veneration of Amun, who was considered the patron saint of the tsarist authorities from ancient times. It was at this time that the construction of the grand temple of the king of all gods begins in Karnak, which later became one of the most famous temples of the ancient world. But such a heyday of the cult of the supreme god had rather strong negative sides. From the concept of the protection of Amun over the royal power flowed the idea of ??its dependence on the will of God, the interpreters of which were priests. The priesthood, gradually gaining strength, becomes Pharaoh’s rival and claims to rule the country. In this situation, the main task of the pharaoh is to undermine the authority of the priests, first of all, Amun. The solution to this problem could be the opposition to the cult of Amon the cult of another god, who would entirely support the tsarist power. And the son of Amenhotep III, Amenhotep IV, enters the throne. With him, in response to the growing influence of the priests of Amun, the cult of the minor Aton deity, the visible form of the solar disk, begins to rise. The choice of the solar deity was not accidental, because the sun in ancient Egypt was always surrounded by a special honor. Amenhotep IV takes a new name – Akhnaton (“Effective spirit of Aton”). He leaves the capital of the country of Thebes and in the middle reaches of the Nile bases a new one – Ahetaton, “Aton’s Horizon” on the site of which is the modern village of Tell el-Amarna (hence the name of the historical period). Soon, Akhenaten erects the veneration of Aton in the rank of state religion, forbidding the cults of all other gods.

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Ancient Egyptian art has always been closely associated with religion, artistic canons were considered sacred and often were a reflection of the religious worldview. Therefore, it is not surprising that the religion of Aton was reflected in art. To change art meant to contribute to the great religious revolution, to free ourselves from the old canons associated with the old “false” gods. The main motive of Amarna’s art was the “search for truth”, which was expressed in the general realistic direction of this art.