chapter  3
30 Pages

ARCHAISM AND MODERNISM IN THE RELIEFS OF HESY-RA

Archaeological and art-historical investigations explicitly focused on 'archaism' offer little of analytical use because the concept of archaism in art history does its most profitable work when it is seen as an aspect of a modernism. On the one hand, survivals can survive into an archaism, a classicism, or a modernism, and revivals can be revived in, or as, an archaism, a classicism, or a modernism. On the other hand, a survival can be archaistic, classicistic, or modernistic - just like a revival. Velazquez's Las Meninas, though later than the classical Greeks in absolute terms, might be 'archaic' relative to the 'classicism' replicated in Picasso's modern art. The concept of a 'canonical' tradition suggests, ancient Egyptian depictions do replicate several interacting constructive and configurative techniques: section contour, proportioning, 'co-ordination of aspect', and register composition. Egyptological art studies have not properly investigated stylistic variation and development. Egyptological stylistic assumptions fill journals with self-perpetuating publications on dating and style.