The Egyptian Influence on Greek Art

By Lora Mathews
Egyptian influences on Greek art emerged in the archaic period.

Egyptian influence on Greek art emerged in the 7th century B.C., according to the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Heilbrunn Timeline. The resulting naturalism replaced the more geometric style which dominated Greek art prior to that time.

Reason

The emergence of successful trading stations in the Nile delta coupled with continued Greek colonization to the east resulted in an increase of contact with eastern art and tradition. This exposure to Egyptian art influenced the poses and posture of figural art in Greece.

Techniques

Egyptian artists inspired their Greek counterparts to experiment with different methods of making art. Metalwork, gem cutting and ivory carving emerged as a result of Egyptian modeling.

Motifs

Certain motifs appeared in Greek art during the early archaic period, including the lotus and certain amalgamation animals--fanciful beasts including the sphinx, so closely identified with Egypt, and griffin. The appearance of spiral-like palmettes in Greek ceiling design can be traced to Egyptian origin.

Architecture

The lotus pattern in Greek decorative art originates with the classical Egyptian upright lotus lily with calyx leaves. Decorating tombs and altars in Egypt, the lotus became a popular design for column capitals in Greece.

Vases

Greek ceramics became more ornate and naturalistic under Egyptian influence. The geometric patterns of old were replaced with friezes, battle scenes, animal figures and birds.

About the Author

I hold a B.S. in Elementary Education and M.S.in Education Administration. Having completed seven years successful classroom teaching experience at the second grade level in public education, I am an expert in my field of primary education.