San Antonio Museum of Art - Coffin Panel with Isis

Freshman (College 1st year) ・Art ・MLA ・4 Sources

The artwork is titled Coffin Panel with Isis, and it is located in San Antonio Museum of Art. It was achieved by an anonymous Egyptian architect in the mid-1st century BC ("San Antonio Museum of Art - Coffin Panel with Isis."). It is in the structure of painted wood designed in an idealism style. Idealistic art makes use of mind, essence, and concepts to govern human’s experience on every day objects. The architect has applied idealism to depict Isis. The ancient Egyptians valued this kind of illustration because of its ability to convey forward spiritual, social, moral and mystic aspects. The coffin panel has a determine of a woman who is standing, both hands are relaxed, and she appears to be waiting for something. Her outfit is a striped dress and a checked weave on her head. Colors have been applied sparingly; a golden yellow color is used to represent Isis’ body.
The work is done by painting a wooden panel by use of fine brushes. History have it that the architects applied the paint using reed brushes, which they chewed at the tips to spread fibers (Lucas & Harris 134). Egypt had a considerably warm climate thus the choice of paint was imperative in ensuring endurance of an artwork. The paint used in the artwork was prepared using mineral pigments—this mixture was preferred because it maintained the work’s appearance regardless of weather or time factors.
The overarching visual elements of art is color and lines. The artist coupled color and lines in creating shapes. The upper body has straight horizontal lines while as those on the lower body are contour and perpendicular. The architect then applies blue and red color on the ropes to outline Isis’ costume. Narrow irregular lines interact at various points to display objects like body parts and background features. All lines and shapes in this work are two-dimensional. The color in the entire illustration has low intensity. This may have been caused by wearing off. Along similar lines, rhythm and variety are the most vibrant principles of design reflected in work. Rhythm is apparent through the repetition black lines on the Isis’ head that represents the ancient Egyptian plait. Rhythm also appears on the lower body through alteration of red and blue contour lines that create the dress. On the other hand, the work applies the principle of variety through an assortment of colors and shapes. This has brought forward the entire representation. As can be seen, the elements develop the principles of visual art in creating the meaning of the artwork.
According to the representation of the drawings, the woman appears to be smiling and hospitable. This infers that she may be welcoming someone. The fact that she is a god placed on a coffin means that her guest is expected in a spirit world. As identified by historians, the ancient Egypt painted Isis on coffins in conviction that the deities will easily identify with the dead (Smith 136). Mythology had it that Isis was responsible for demise and renaissance and therefore painting her on a coffin would help protect the departed.
The artwork highly imparted the ancient Egyptian’s iconography. The symbols and visual images in this work expressed a reunion of the dead with the gods. Isis played a key role in the reunion since she represented maternal power. She was also believed to resurrect people and thus painting her image on a coffin intended to wish the diseased a lovely afterlife.
A common theme in both this artwork and that of the ancient Greek artwork is the theme of religion. For instance, the Greek artwork—Zeus of Artemision—depict existence deities (Kleiner & Gardner 128). However, the ancient Greek art has more philosophical affiliations while that of Egypt centers on supernatural beliefs. Similarly, the Greek artwork has some realism in it contrary to that of Egypt that is idealized. In conclusion, religion in the Egyptian artwork is absolute while as in the Greek artwork it is relative.

Works Cited

"San Antonio Museum of Art - Coffin Panel with Isis." Samuseum.Org, 2017,
Kleiner, Fred S, and Helen Gardner. Gardner's Art Through The Ages. 15th ed., Boston, MA, Cengage Learning, 2016.
Lucas, Alfred, and John Harris. Ancient Egyptian materials and industries. Courier Corporation, 2012.
Smith. Egyptian Mummies Hb. 1st ed., Ambingon, Routledge, 2013.

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