THIS CAN BE LIGHTENED A LITTLE, OR AT LEAST CHANGED TO BE A LITTLE LESS
The Seated Scribe, c. 2450 BC, depicts
a civil servant. The scribe was a court official who took the minutes at
important governmental meetings. However though educated (he could read and
write) and middle class (he could afford to commission this sculpture for his
own tomb), he was not “allowed” or socially sanctioned to use the Neoplatonic
ideal for his sculpture. He was not partially divine, just mortal. The
sculpture displays the naked realities of a middle-age man: thinning hair,
sunken-in cheeks, fleshy (not muscular) arms and legs, sagging pectorals,
rounded belly, and sun tanned. This is a body that has been lived in.
Reflection of Geist? The comparison of this sculpture with that of a
pharaoh documents the class consciousness latent within Egyptian society and
collective self-perceptions as they filtered into art.