Kim Jackson, an art writer for the San Diego Examiner has an excellent article on ancient Egyptian art forms. The articles deals primarily with sculptures and hieroglyphics. Her article is beautifully illustrated with pictures from Egyptian monuments. The following is an excerpt from the article:
The ancient art of Egyptian sculpture evolved to represent the gods, goddesses and Pharaohs (the divine kings and queens). Statues were built to represent the gods; to give eternal life to the Pharaohs and queens; and also to enable the subjects to see them in larger-than-life physical form.
The ancient Egyptian artisans followed very strict conventions while crafting statues: male statues were darker than the females; in seated statues, hands were required to be placed on knees and specific rules governed appearance of every Egyptian god.
Artistic works were ranked according to exact compliance with all the conventions, and the conventions were followed so strictly that very little changed in the appearance of statutes for nearly 3,000 years.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, hieroglyphic script is one consisting of a variety of pictures and symbols. Many symbols had independent meanings, whereas some symbols were used in combinations. In addition, some hieroglyphs were used phonetically, in a similar fashion to the Roman alphabet. Some symbols also conveyed multiple meanings; for instance, legs could mean to walk, to run, to go and to come. The script was written in three directions: from top to bottom, from left to right, and from right to left
Read the article in its entirety by clicking here.