Art, Design, And Nature

In a broad sense, nature encompasses the natural world, the physical universe, and the material world. The artwork of nature can take on many different sizes, shapes, and forms, giving the artist plenty of subjects for his paintings. Just a few subjects of nature, for example, include flowers, plants, trees, animals, botany, weather, and geology. Art imitates nature, as many artists and photographers replicate nature in their paintings and photographs as well.

art design nature Art, Design, And Nature

Ansel Adams

As a true pioneer of nature photography, Ansel Adams was the renowned expert for capturing the beauty of nature in his surrealistic photographs. Adams is considered a visionary hero of nature photography and preservation. His best known pictures were taken of Yosemite National Park in the early 1900’s. Photography experts say his black and white photos have a beautiful, silver-like quality. Today, the Ansel Adams Gallery has become a gathering place for celebrating the arts and the natural grandeur of the environment.

One of Ansel Adams’ most famous photographs is Monolith: The Face of the Half Dome. The photograph is absolutely beautiful, and it definitely captures the rugged elegance of Yosemite National Park.

Nature Inspires Art

Nearly every aspect of nature—including the land and water we rely on for survival— definitely shape and support the way everyone views the world. The paintings and photographs that artists create come from the inspiration that they experience all around them.

Since the earliest dynasties, the mountains of China have provided an expression of nature’s power called “qi,” which attracts rain clouds, waters the crops, and provides medicine for healing the sick, as well as beautiful backdrops for the portraits and paintings that artists create. No doubt, the power of nature and beauty is a vital part of life.

Across the seas in the United States, people still raft down one of the country’s oldest River (the Mississippi) and sing of the country’s “purple mountain majesties” in reference to Pike’s Peak in Colorado. Both Pike’s Peak and America’s great river provide great scenic landscapes for the painter’s brush and the photographer’s camera.

Archaeologists still discover rudimentary cave paintings and drawings of horses, deer, and bulls in France, Greece, and other parts of the world that date back more than 17,000 years.

Both nature and art are an important part of our lives, culture, and history, and as such, everyone needs to appreciate and conserve nature and the artistic spirit, in order to ensure that our sons and grandsons can appreciate the world around them.

The Various Elements of Nature Found in Design

The various elements of design including horizontal and vertical lines, colors, shapes, patterns, and forms, can be found in our natural surroundings. If you take a brief moment and look around you when you’re hiking in the mountains or taking a walk through the park, you can’t help but notice the various shapes and forms that can easily take part in an aesthetically pleasing photograph or painting.

Whether it’s a landscape, wildlife, or human subjects, you can always create an interesting still-life photograph or painting by incorporating the various elements of nature.

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Horizontal Lines

Interestingly, these elements also have an emotional impact on the viewer. For instance, horizontal lines in nature often produce a feeling of calmness, serenity, and stability. Perhaps the most common display of horizontal lines is the horizon itself, however, many other subjects, such as rolling hills, lakes, and rivers exhibit strong horizontal lines as well.

The artist adds additional interest to his work by incorporating other objects like trees, mountains, and rocks. Vertical lines add movement and direction, adding more energy to the artist’s work. When you think of a rainy day in the mountains, the constant vertical motion of the raindrops give you the feeling of motion and energy. Similarly, the artist captures this same feeling of vertical movement by including vertical lines in his paintings. The trunks of trees, grass blades, flower stalks also represent the vertical lines in nature.

Diagonal Lines

Much like vertical lines, diagonal lines also direct the viewer through a particular scene, while creating visual tension at the same time. Diagonal lines are typically found in hillsides meadows, sunbeams, and streaks of light through a forest. The Redwood trees of California are a great example of streaks of light shining through a forest of enormous tress in the foreground.

Form

From an artist’s perspective, form helps create the three-dimensional quality of an object. Although form is one of the least understood elements, it is very similar to shape. By definition, form incorporates all three dimensions of an object, whereas shape incorporates only two. Photographers often find it difficult to capture form in their pictures since film captures only two dimensions. However, the best way to capture form in photography is to use the correct lighting. For example, the “golden hour” lighting produced in the early morning provides a softer lighting and shadows, allowing the artist to add dimension to his photographs and paintings. Close-up photos also add dimension where the object in the foreground is in sharp focus, and the background appears blurry. Photographs of trees, rocks, shorelines, mushrooms, and wildflowers also depict form and dimension.

Patterns

Strong patterns emerge when colors, shapes, or lines repeat themselves. More often than not, patterns tend to emerge naturally when more than three similar elements appear within the frame.

In natural environments, fallen leaves and branches on trees in the autumn months create a random pattern for the artist, offering a colorful and interesting subject for a painting or picture. The various shapes, lines and colors of wildflowers in a meadow also create an interesting visual pattern for artists. On a larger scale, trees on a hillside and eroded rock hoodoos also represent stunning pattern for photos.

Nature offers an abundance of lines, colors, shapes, patterns, and forms for artists, and it’s often a simple matter of going on a nature hike or spending time on a camping trip to capture the surrounding beauty of nature in a film or painting.

Greek Influence On The Ancient Roman Art Design

When it comes to art and aesthetics, Greece had the most influence on the development of art and design in Rome, as evidenced by much of the ancient art and architecture found in Pompeii. In fact, the city of Pompeii (in the region of Campani) retained its Greek culture even after becoming a Roman colony. In Pompeii and other parts of Rome, the Greeks provided a great source of culture, beauty, and wisdom. In turn, the Romans infused these sources into their own works of art. For the most part, but not entirely, the Ancient art of Rome reflects the aesthetic influence of the Egyptians and the Greeks of earlier times.

Two works of art—the mosaic Plato’s Academy and the fresco Garden Scene—are poignant examples of the different types of art applied to the gardens and interiors of Pompeian villas and homes. A marble sculpture of the goddess Aphrodite from the early first century also reflects the Roman interest in Greek mythology, art forms, and styles.

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Paintings and Mosaics

The Romans created mosaics in local colors that were extracted from stone, plants and other sources. Several examples of colorful mosaics were displayed in Pompeii. These paintings showed scenes of everyday life in the countryside.

Romans found great beauty in the mosaics of Babylon, and as a result, they decided to copy the art form, and then add it to buildings and other forms of architecture.

Two different styles of Roman mosaics are: opus sectile opus tessellatum. Both types of mosaics were mainly used to create scenes from life-like paintings.

In order to create a specific design, Roman artists used shapes of stone that were cut and inlaid into walls and floors. The most common materials used to create opus sectile were marble, mother of pearl, and glass.

Opus tessellatum mosaics, on the other hand, are much like dice. Since they are square in shape, the Romans used them mainly to decorate the floors inside large buildings. The Romans also created life-like statues and busts made of clay and marble by incorporating some of the design ideas from Greek statues.

Since these statues were created as homage to gods or important leaders, Roman sculptors often used metal in order to strengthen their creations. Even today, you can still experience some of these life-size works of art in museums throughout the world.

The Philosophy Of Art In Roman Culture

The art and architecture of Rome encompassed many of the ideas and thoughts of Roman and Greek philosophers. For example, Greek philosophers felt that aesthetically pleasing objects were beautiful in and of themselves. Famous Greek philosopher Plato also said that beautiful objects incorporated proportion, harmony, and unity among their parts. In the Metaphysics, Aristotle also said the universal elements of beauty are order, symmetry, and definiteness.

A Philosophical View of Persian Art Through the Centuries

As one of the oldest and richest heritages of the world, Persian art encompasses several disciplines, including metalwork, painting, weaving, sculpture, and pottery. Throughout the centuries, Persian art is characterized by vibrant colors and tremendous detail. Many of the rugs created in Persia are characterized by geometric patterns and bright colors of burgundy, blue, and ivory.

Even today, Persian art, design, and sculpture have been preserved in the form of column capitals, wall reliefs, and metalwork.

persian design 225x300 A Philosophical View of Persian Art Through the Centuries

Persian Art in the Achaemenid and Sassanid Periods

Ancient Persian art is characterized by two distinct periods of time: the Achaemenid Empire (550-330 BC) and the Sassanid Empire (200-650 BC).

The Achaemenid period represents a magnificent, yet brief period in the history of Persian art where the official and private works of artists flourished in the form of architecture, sculpture, and wall painting. Craftsmen during the time were also renowned for decorative arts such as alabaster vessels, jewelry, weaponry, and ivory carvings.

Although the ancient style of the Achaemenid period reflects the influence by the Greeks and Egyptians, the people of that period still developed a unique style and design of their own. The Achaemenids were able to create of feeling of space and scale, as evidenced by the relief sculpture found in some of massive Persian complexes.

Carved during the reign of Artaxerxes I (son of Xerxes), a stone relief showing gift-bearers is a reminiscent piece for the Persepolis palace. The sculpture shows a pair of gift bearers, each with a profile view facing right, beards combed vertically, and both offering obedience to a Persian ruler. The art often depicts figures shown in the profile or a three-quarter view.

The art of the Sassanid period is mainly characterized by beautiful architecture, reliefs, and toreutics. There are also outstanding achievements in carvings and paintings.

Sassanid art depicts very courtly and chivalric scenes, as well as images of rulers. Hunting and battle scenes also gained notoriety. Art representations during the time also contained a characteristic coat of arms.

Found in the Fars Providence, some of the biggest achievements of the Sassanid Period consist of thirty different rock relief monuments.

The reliefs depict some of the most significant events, and are usually attributed to specific rulers of the time. For example, one of the reliefs shows Khosrau II mounted on his horse and fully armed for battle.

Much like the Egyptians, the art of the time was created in homage to the rulers and royal families.

What is the Meaning of Ancient Persian Art?

When it comes to the subject of philosophy (or the meaning) of Persian art, scholars haven’t written much to cover the topic. However, the work of Rumi focuses on the importance of symbolism and the beauty of art forms in Persia.

Much like Zen Buddhist art of China, the emphasis of traditional Persian art is a quest for finding truth. Before drawing or painting something on the canvas, the artist does his best to understand the true nature of the object that he wishes to represent. The Persian artist may ask himself, “How must I convey the meaning of this object in a spiritual or metaphysical sense?” The artist tries his best to represent the object “as is,” instead of his own interpretation of it. He may even spend hours studying the object before making any brush strokes, but when he finally decides to draw the object, the physical act of drawing or painting occurs in a brief moment. It seems that once he understands the essence of the object, the rest comes naturally.

Design Through Time: A Quick Look at the Art of China

For centuries, the Chinese have always been a nation steeped in heritage, art, and culture. If you’ve ever experienced the art and design of China, you begin to realize that the different forms of Chinese art (for example, performing arts, sculpture, and paintings) and design play a big role in Asian culture.

For centuries, the people of China have produced exemplary forms of art, as the people of China were in love with various forms of art throughout the centuries. From its first inception, Chinese art has always been characterized by incredible detail, vivid colors, and an accurate reflection of the Chinese culture throughout the years.

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Different forms of primitive pictorial art can still be found on the walls of caves in some of the mountainous regions of China. The swirling brush strokes depict nature, animals, rocks, plant life, and the surrounding environment.

As the culture started moving away from cave dwellings, the art and design throughout the country began to take on a brush stroke design that is still noticeable in Chinese art

Ancient Art and Painting During the Song Dynasty in China (960 to 1279)

Poetry and painting during the Song Dynasty were considered social activities, and on many occasions, Confucians gathered in public places to compete with one another and show off their creations.

Some of the more renowned art collectors brought scrolls containing their works of art in order to gain admiration from onlookers.

Unfortunately, many of the paintings during the time were very dull and conventional, and it wasn’t until later when Zen Buddhism emphasized a freedom of expression in the art world. As one can imagine, the Zen Buddhist religion has an enormous influence on ancient Chinese art for centuries.

Art and the Zen Buddhist Religion

Many scholars have drawn comparisons between Eastern and Western Art, claiming that Western artists tend to formulate nature based on their own thoughts and ideas, while the Zen artists accept nature exactly the way it is. Zen artists don’t care about the photographic representation of an object, but rather they interpret its spirit, and as such, they see man as an integral part of nature. The Zen artist views an object as a realm of beauty to be admired, but also of mystery and illusion.

The job of the Zen artist is to express the eternal qualities of the object by the simplest means possible. In order to accomplish this task, he must fully understand the eternal qualities of the object (i.e., the object’s Buddha nature).

As such, the artist must fully understand the inner nature of the aesthetic object (i.e., its Buddha nature. To the Zen artist, technique is important; however it is useless without fully comprehending the object before drawing it. Interestingly, the actual execution of the art work is spontaneous, and apparently it doesn’t take the artist very long to complete his task.

The Philosophy Of Art, Design, Color, & Shape In Greek Culture

Archeologists have categorized Ancient Greece into three distinct periods: the Prepalatial period (2600 to 1900 BC) Protopalatial Period (1900-1700 BC), and the Neopalatial Period (1450 to 1100 BC). For several centuries, the Minoan art and culture of Greece symbolized joy, art, logical order, and a deep respect for nature. The Minoan civilization arose from Crete from 2700 to 1450 BC.

Prepalatial Design Period

Most of the artifacts found during this period were prehistoric looking figurines called Cycladic statuettes. The statuettes were interpreted as female figures that symbolize the deceased, servants, and concubines. Some scholars interpret them as symbols of goddesses of fertility and rebirth, but their primary use was for shrines. Female fertility and divinities were also common theme throughout ancient Greece, as the figurines often depicted pregnant women.

Other scholars suggested that the statuettes had a more practical purpose, explaining that the figurines were used as toys for children.

Protopalatial Design Period

During the Protopalatial Period, the Minoan culture introduced a rudimentary form of a potter’s wheel that allowed artists to produce thin-walled vessels in symmetrical shapes and sizes. The surfaces were also decorated with scenes that celebrated the Minoans’ love for nature and life. The sweeping curves and bold lines across the surface of Minoan pottery also show the contrast between dark and light values.

greek design art 300x225 The Philosophy Of Art, Design, Color, & Shape In Greek Culture

Neopalatial Design Period

The Neopalatial Period characterized the height of Minoan art, and the scenes painted on the walls of Grecian palaces suggested that the Greeks were closely connected to nature, as many of the walls and pots during the time depicted the nature, including, plants, animals, birds, and marine life. The Greeks were also a seafaring civilization, and the artifacts from archeological digs show proof that the people of the time also had a passion for the sea. Some of the mural paintings (called frescoes) of the Neopalatial Period depicted images of flying fish.

Images of bulls accompanied by human figures also adorn the walls of temples and palaces throughout Crete. Historians and archaeologists also claim that the frescoes depict scenes where humans jump over the bull’s back. The bull imagery is prominent among the ancient Greek cultures, but so far, the experts can only speculate about their significance in the Minoan art world.

Several of the artifacts that have survived today offer and insight into the Minoan culture that lasted for several centuries in Greece. These discoveries seem to provide proof that the art of the Minoans exemplifies a happy society of happy people who were in touch with their environment, and very much of the natural world that surrounded them.

Some of the unearthed archaeological artifacts also indicate that the Minoans thrived with a high degree of self respect, coupled with a keen ability to adapt to their cultural environment.

In general, Minoan art is characterized by naturalness combined with formalism. As with most ancient art, the paintings lack perspective, giving them a flat effect. On the other hand, humans, beasts, plants are painted with great detail and formal patterns on murals and frescoes. The animals are shown in amazingly accurate and natural poses, swallows are shown in flight, and the antelopes show grace and movement across the terrain.In general, Minoan art is characterized by naturalness combined with formalism. As with most ancient art, the paintings lack perspective, giving them a flat effect. On the other hand, humans, beasts, plants are painted with great detail and formal patterns on murals and frescoes. The animals are shown in amazingly accurate and natural poses, swallows are shown in flight, and the antelopes show grace and movement across the terrain.

Check back for more history of design and other design tips.

Design Through Time: The Impact That Egyptian Art & Design Has Today

Ancient Egypt is a civilization of wealth and structure that flourished along the Nile River in northeastern Africa from about 3300 B.C to 30 B.C, as the area continues to draw tourists and curious archeologists to Egypt like a magnet. Surprisingly, many of the art forms, pyramids, and temples can still be seen today.

Approximately 2,000 years later, it’s difficult to imagine what life would be like today without the impact of this highly civilized society.

Historians say that the Egyptian way of life has significantly impacted nearly every aspect of our American culture, including literature, art, architecture, and film.

The shapes, lines, and design of Egyptian architecture are prevalent throughout many design eras, and painting of Egyptian life and death are displayed in famous museums throughout the world.

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Walk Like an Egyptian

In the 20th century, archeologists uncovered several royal tombs. The most notable discovery during the time was King Tut’s tomb. Much to their surprise, explorers were able to discover several pieces of pieces of jewelry, wooden furniture, and other artifacts.

Howard Carter’s discovery of the tomb gave rise to a new wave of “Egyptomanania,” that popularized Egyptian art and design. Famous psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud was a big admirer or Egyptian artifacts, and his desk was covered with small army of Egyptian figurines.

After Carter’s discovery of the tomb of Tutankamun in 1922, a new wave of “Egyptomania” spread across New York City, and several great examples of Art Deco architecture made their way to New York—several of which found inspiration from ancient Egypt.

Prior to the Great Depression, Art Deco (characterized by geometric shapes and simplistic design) gained wide popularity in terms of visual art, architecture, and interior design.

In terms of film, many of us are still remember the famous movie, Cleopatra, starring Richard and Elizabeth Taylor. Produced by Walter Wagner, the film marked its 50th Anniversary in 2013. Film producers speculated that Cleopatra was a huge gamble, but when it was finally filmed, it turned out to be one of the most remarkable films of the 1960s.

Over the years, Egyptian art has adorned modern homes through various mediums. For example, ancient designs on papyrus (a form of paper used for Egyptian art) can be found on walls of homes, offices, and state buildings even today. Art Deco also adopted the Egyptian motif in its room furnishings, as well as accent pieces in architecture.

Paintings of Egyptian life, death, and geometric shapes are displayed in art galleries and stores throughout the world, and the impact of ancient Egyptian art and architecture is still alive and well today.

Design Through Time: The Greco-Roman Egypt Period (323 BC TO 30 BC)

The Greco-Roman Period (also referred to as the Hellenistic Period) marks a time of Greek/Roman takeover in Egypt. During the time, the Greek culture promulgated through Europe, Asia, and Africa, and Egypt, as enormous buildings, vistas, and innovative design were all signs of the time.

The Greeks undoubtedly has some influence on the formation of art, architecture, and design in Egypt, but the people of the area were steeped in tradition and religion, and they continued to build temples in homage to the gods. Built in 237 BC, the temple of Edfu is the most well-preserved structure from this particular period. Today, Edfu is an agricultural trade center located on the Nile River. Even today, the walls of the temple of Edfu are adorned with Reliefs. The temple was dedicated to a falcon god named Horus. A large statue of Horus still stands prominently at the entrance to the temple.

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Hellenistic Paintings

As a mainstay of the Egyptian art of culture, the Egyptians were obsessed with death, the afterlife, and immortality. As a result, colorful tomb paintings often depicted groups of elegantly dressed women and servants celebrating a funerary banquet. The women are typically dressed in wigs, gold earrings, jeweled collars, bracelets, and pleated dresses. Their heads were scented with animal fat that released a perfume-like fragrance.

Art and Sculpture

The art community in Hellenistic Egypt flourished, as artists and sculptors discovered innovative ways to characterize human emotion and individual experiences with vivid detail.

The Hellenist Period was a time of wealth, and the capital city of Alexandria was decorated with streets lined in gold, and the enormous architecture was dramatic, towering with large pillars and sculptures in order to worship Egyptian and Greek gods. Religious temples and buildings evoked feelings of awe among onlookers, and even today, the ancient architecture of Egyptian appeals to the spiritual emotions of tourists, historians, and archaeologists alike.

Sculptors created masterpieces that depicted swirling draperies and and female nudes. Their works also incorporated the space around it—as opposed to the stealth-like figures that were seen only from the front. Overall, the sculpture was much more dramatic, and it eventually evolved into more dramatic pieces that could be viewed from all sides.

Coinciding with developments in sculpture and architecture, Hellenistic pottery transformed into more colorful, ornate and life-like pieces. Other clay vessels made of and precious metals and gold tableware adorned the tables of royal families and other imperial members of society, as the Hellenistic era of Egypt was characterized by wealth and opulence for years ahead.

Design Through Time: Ancient Egyptian Art & Architecture In The Late Period (664 BC to 323 BC)

As the richest and most civilized continent in the ancient world, the people of Egypt had the capacity to create amazing art and architecture that is still available even today. Considering the primitive tools these people had to work with, artists, historians, and architects in the modern world still wonder how these amazing achievements came to life over 2,000 years ago.

During the Late Period, Egypt was dominated by Persian rule (also called the 27th Dynasty), and lasted for nearly a century. No doubt, the Persians had some influence on the design of the time, but the Egyptians were deeply religious, and their belief in life after death was an extremely strong aspect of their culture.

The Egyptians believed in immortality, and as such they believed that a dead person’s body needed to be mummified or preserved (along with that person’s individual belongings) in order to survive in the afterlife. Elaborate paintings and sculptures adorned the tombs in order to be used in spirit world. Interestingly, the elaborate pictures and paintings found in tombs were designed as helpers for the deceased in the afterlife.

The Egyptians’ obsession with death—combined with the desire to pay homage to their kings and kings—provided strong motivation for these people to craft elaborate tombs and coffins for those who were in power at the time. If you have an opportunity to witness some of the Egyptian today, it looks strange to the average onlooker, but during the time, it was the artist’s intent to capture a particular moment in time as accurately and vividly as possible. Historians also claim that artists were required to adhere to very strict rules and everything they created came strictly from memory. The images always reflected these strict requirements for over 2,000 years.

Egyptian designers also created many sculptures that were characterized by elongated skulls. Historians say that the Egyptians practiced a form of cranial deformation were a young child’s head was bound with rope and flat boards in order to reshape the skull.

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Characteristics Of Egyptian Art & Design

The images of the Late Egyptian Period were characterized by property, good health, and youth. Egyptian paintings and sculptures showed the subject’s face to the side. The legs were turned to the same side as the head, with one foot placed in front of the other. Although the stance and rigidness of the bodies are severe, the faces still remain calm and serene.

The common theme of Egyptian art and design before and during the Late Period is characterized by an astute observation of nature, life, and immortality; and this theme remained essentially the same for thousands of years to come.

Design Through Time: Egypt In Third Intermediate Period

The civilization of ancient Egypt from 1070 to 664 BC marks a time filled with amazing art, architecture, technology, and engineering.

It’s been said many times that the ancient Egyptians were ahead of their time, and if you’ve ever visited Egypt, you can experience some of technologically-advanced art and architecture created thousands of years ago. Even today, people gaze with awe as they experience the amazing architecture and design of yester-year.

Located on the banks of the Nile River, some of the great buildings and pyramids of the Third Intermediate Period still stand, as people from all around the world flock to Egypt to witness the ancient culture that everyone’s been talking about.

The Third Intermediate Period was characterized as a time of changes in leadership and politics, and as such, Egypt ushered ushered in a new renaissance period for ancient Egypt, and the Pharaohs continued to build temples and monuments throughout the Nile valley. A new creation of and innovative bronze and precious metals adorned temples as homage to Egyptian rulers and kings.

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The ancient Egyptians were obsessed with death, and as such, the theme of an afterlife promulgated throughout deity tombs, temples, and coffins. The Egyptians went to great lengths to preserve human bodies through mummification, but they also created extremely ornate and detailed burial coffins for Pharaohs and high-ranking individuals.

The people believed in immortality, and that that rulers would actually take their possessions with them. As such, the design themes were expressed in a series of relief-decorated vessels, and smaller objects made of precious metals as a dedication to the rulers of that period.

The whole idea behind elaborate coffins and tombs was that the Egyptians wanted their rulers to live a prosperous afterlife by taking some of their worldly treasures with them. When it comes to art and design, the Egyptians were motivated by their belief system. In other words, most of the art and design of the time was design was centered on the theme of death and dying.

Their rulers were considered immortal; the common people worshiped their rulers with elaborate designs in the form of masks adorned with jewels, precious metals, and beautiful carvings. The elaborate mask of King Tut is a prime example of the type of design the Egyptians created in homage to their king.

It has often been said that art imitates life, and ancient Egyptian culture during the Third Intermediate Period is no exception to the rule, mainly because the art and architecture of the time was clearly an extension of the rulers and dynasty during that period.