Cover image for Egyptian art.
Egyptian art.
Málek, Jaromír.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
London : Phaidon, 1999.
Physical Description:
448 pages : illustrations (chiefly color) ; 22 cm.
Geographic Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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Item Holds
N5350 .M26 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



From the geometrical precision of the pyramids to the golden treasures found in Tutankhamun's tomb, the art of ancient Egypt has an enduring capacity to attract and intrigue. These remarkable works of art are the concrete expression of the ancient Egyptians' way of life and their attitudes to religion and the afterlife. In this clear and comprehensive introduction, Jaromir Malek deftly traces Egyptian art from its prehistoric origins, through 3, 000 years of astonishing achievements in the era of the pharaohs, to the conquest of Egypt by the Romans.

Author Notes

Jaromir Malek holds a doctorate in Egyptology from Charles University, Prague and is the editor of the Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, Reliefs, and Paintings. He resides in Oxford, England.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Three handsome volumes depict life in ancient Egypt through excavated sites and artifacts. Malek sets the stage here, followed by the two gorgeous oversize museum books. Egyptologist Malek takes the reader on a visual and intellectual tour of history beginning with the days of the ancient pharaohs. The history of Egypt was preserved in the configuration of the pyramids, and Egyptian Art shares this amazing history. Malek uses discoveries from excavations to explain the past of Egypt from prehistoric eras to the days of Roman occupation and beyond. Egyptians were obsessed with the afterlife. Hieroglyphs uncovered in the pyramids tell the history of the religious as well as the political belief systems of this long-ago culture. Malek uses wall art, jewelry, and sculptures to explain burial rites and the functions of government. During the period known as the Old Kingdom, the ancient Egyptians began the construction of their most famous legacy, the pyramids. Age of the Pyramids dissects these ancient wonders using documentation from archaeological excavations. The pyramids contained the ancient Egyptian belief system regarding the afterlife. In-depth tutorial essays describe the rituals involved in the funeral practices. Egyptians spent their lives preparing for life after death, although only the upper class could fully prepare themselves and their graves for the next stage; therefore, archaeologists are only able to further examine the practices of the pharaohs and their cohorts. The layout of the pyramids is quite complex, with multiple chambers complete with all the items considered necessary for the next stage of life. Using text, drawings, and photos, this book brings the era of the Old Kingdom to life for all audiences. Egyptian Treasures is a marvelous descriptive guide to the ancient history exhibit at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Beginning with an essay on the nineteenth-century European obsession with all things Egyptian and the Egyptian government's sanctioned gifts of artifacts to foreign dignitaries, editor Tiradritti writes about modern Egypt's desire for a museum to properly display their history and to maintain the jewelry, mummy cases, and statues. Egyptian officials were eventually able to retain a significant amount of their ancient legacy and build a museum worthy of their ancestors. Following the introduction are educational essays by Egyptologists from around the world, on topics ranging from the early dynastic eras through to the later periods of invasion by the Greeks. Throughout the book, there are vivid photographs of artifacts with a narration explaining the historical and artistic significance of each piece. --Julia Glynn

Library Journal Review

Written by British curator Malek (In the Shadow of the Pyramids: Egypt During the Old Kingdom), Egyptian Art is another in Phaidon's solid "Art & Ideas" series. It follows the tradition of other titles in The other three titles were published to coincide with the international traveling exhibition "Egyptian Art in the Age of the Pyramid," seen recently at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art (MOMA). When the Pyramids Were Built is a streamlined version of the official catalog. With no index, it will not be a first choice for reference, but Arnold (the curator of the Egyptian department at MOMA) provides a well-written and very accessible text. Its readability, combined with the quality of the photographs and the modest price, makes this an excellent purchase for most public libraries. The 25 internationally respected Egyptologists who contributed to Egyptian Art in the Age of the Pyramids provide a valuable look at recent developments in the field. In particular, the redating of many artifacts results in a very different view of the artistic trends of the period. The profuse illustrations vary in quality, but their sheer number, added to the high-level scholarship of the text and the three detailed indexes (general, sites, and owners of the artifacts), makes this an important book for all academic and most medium and large public libraries. Egyptian Treasures from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo covers a much greater time span than the other three titles. The text, written by a virtual who's who in Egyptology, is a bit uneven--as is usually the case with so many authors. However, all of the text is comprehensible, and some of it (such as the argument that Tutankhamun was not murdered) is fascinating. Unfortunately, there is no index, but the layout is chronological, giving some hope of finding specific artifacts. The real treasure of the book lies in Araldo De Luca's stunning photographs. Often, De Luca sees with his camera's eye things that few visitors would notice. The book's large trim allows for many life-size illustrations, and at all times the illustrations do justice to a phenomenal collection. Highly recommended for all academic and most public libraries.--Mary Morgan Smith, Northland P.L., Pittsburgh (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Malek offers a very even survey of the long story of Egyptian Art, even including the effects of the ancient style on 20th-century non-Egyptian art. The styles of architecture, sculpture, fresco, minor arts, and politics and religion are covered so that consistencies and unique developments are chronologically logged. Careful study can reveal when a form or style first appeared in Egypt. This means art is mentioned that is not illustrated, a rare occurrence in art history books since photography. There actually are plenty of illustrations from world collections of the familiar and less familiar works. Malek is interesting because he writes extremely knowledgeably and clearly. That there are no footnotes or references to archaeology and others' scholarship may facilitate the read. That he still mentions controversies (putting down some theories, creating some original hypotheses) is enticing. Egyptian research now exposes much detail on familiar finds, new finds, and data on all the social classes. For that, plus pendulum swings in interpretations and popular focus on America's big and little Egyptian art collections, this book is a good introduction. It is a model thorough survey, and a fun peek at one mature scholar's perspective. His consistent revealing of initiation and modulations of art form and style is particularly valuable. General readers; undergraduates through professionals. E. L. Anderson; formerly, Lansing Community College