THE AGE OF AKHENATEN
The pharaoh Akhenaten, King Tut’s controversial father, departed from centuries of tradition after taking power in 1353 B.C. Changes during his 17-year reign included new styles of art and architecture and mass celebrations of the sun god Aten that pushed the old gods aside.
Egyptian art traditionally depicted figures in stiff, standard poses denoting formal roles and status. Common themes included military prowess and preparations for the afterlife.
ART UNDER AKHENATEN
Akhenaten dramatically accelerated a shift toward intimate snapshots of family life and softer, less muscular poses in natural settings. Women assumed a more prominent role.
Sun god Aten
BUILDING A NEW BELIEF
Instead of enclosed shrines to local deities (below), Akhenaten ordered an open structure just for Aten and his earthly agents—the pharaoh and his queen, Nefertiti.
In the Luxor Temple, priests in dark, incense-filled inner sanctuaries led smaller, more private daily rituals for several gods, represented by painted reliefs and sculptures.
Multiple gods are worshipped.
Barque (divine boat)
Hypostyle (colonnade) hall
AKHENATEN’S LONG TEMPLE
In this part of the Great Aten Temple, sunshine illuminated courtyard tables piled with food and bowls of incense. Hastily built from small blocks, walls depicted the ritualized life of the royal family.
Only the sun god Aten is celebrated.
At least 791