The Portrayal of Ancient Rulers Essay

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The Portrayal of Ancient Rulers

Throughout history, the idea of what a ruler is has evolved. In ancient societies the style of leadership evolved from royal leadership to politically appointed emperors. Inheritance of a throne and kingship subsided after Alexander the Great’s world domination. Instead, leaders came to power through political and military prowess, and if their leadership was unsatisfactory they would usually be overthrown. With the evolution of leadership throughout ancient times, came the evolution of art portraying the rulers of the era. The personality and authority portrayed in portraits, employ different means of expression. In the ancient Egyptian sculpture of King Menkaure and his Queen, a
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He is represented as a mature, vigorous man, probably in his 30s. He has slender hips, broad shoulders, and well-developed arms. His body has been made to appear life like; overall he represents the ideal of manly beauty in ancient Egypt.

The image of his face and clothing are idealized and indicative of his power. Projecting from his chin is a short, striped, squared-off ceremonial beard. On his head he wears a nemes, or headdress, the sides of which are pulled back behind his large ears and the lappets fall on the sides of his chest. The beard and headdress are the primary symbols of his pharaonic status. The only other article of clothing he wears is a kilt, which is folded across the front, with one end falling down beneath, and held in place with a belt around his waist.

Next to Menkaure stands his Queen, Khamerenebty. She stands in a more naturalistic way than Menkaure. Her right arm reaches around his waist and her left one is bent at the elbow, holding his left arm. The Queen’s gesture serves to bring them unity. Her relaxed pose, her smaller stride forward, the less rigid position of her arms, and her open hands indicate her subordinate position. Therefore, her pose can be interpreted as that of a passive, dutiful wife standing next to her powerful husband.

The treatment of her clothing is intended to reveal and describe the forms of her body. She wears a long, very thin, close

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