Who Were Artists in Ancient Egypt and What Audiences Did They Address?
Ancient Egyptian artworks were typically made by people of unknown name, for extremely small audiences. The only form that had wide visibility was large-scale architecture, but it often presented a message of exclusion. The production of aesthetic artifacts, built spaces, and events, many requiring vast resources, was a major social preoccupation. How far can we capture and characterize the group responsible for commissioning and carrying out works? Can we trace chains of action among patrons, designers, executants, and audiences? How different is the Egyptian case from other traditions? In this lecture, John Baines, Professor of Egyptology at the University of Oxford, surveyed some of these issues through material of varying types and periods. The respondent for the lecture was Deborah Vischak, Lecturer in the Department of Art and Archaeology, Princeton University.