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What is wrong with the images of the Egyptian pyramids in the paintings of the artists of the past, and what conclusions are drawn from this today
What is wrong with the images of the Egyptian pyramids in the paintings of the artists of the past, and what conclusions are drawn from this today

Ancient Egypt left behind too many ambiguities and mysteries. It is difficult to refrain from building different theories regarding the history of the country of the pharaohs, and other people's reasoning inevitably attracts attention. So what if scientists tend to be careful about their assumptions, and enthusiasts are exceptionally generous with them? Moreover, there is something to build their versions on - take, for example, the strangeness with the depiction of the Egyptian pyramids by the artists.

Pointed pyramids in 17th century paintings

A little more than a hundred pyramids have survived to this day in Egypt, which once served not only as tombs for rulers, or more complex complexes of religious and economic structures. The architecture of Ancient Egypt, of course, amazed the imagination of European travelers - at first casual, and then more and more frequent visitors to this part of the African continent. In the paintings of the artists, "Egyptian" biblical themes - the finding of Moses by the daughter of Pharaoh, the flight of the Holy Family - from a certain moment, characteristic details appear that directly point to Egypt. Unlike the works of the Renaissance painters, in the 17th century and later on canvases and in books you can already see obelisks and pyramids.

Tintoretto. "Flight to Egypt". For a long time, Egypt did not give itself out in the paintings - the artists portrayed landscapes familiar to themselves

Raphael, Tintoretto, Caravaggio - the masters of the 16th century - cannot find images of the tombs of the pharaohs; they can be seen in the paintings of Nicolas Poussin, a 17th century French painter. In the next century, the "fashion" for ancient Egyptian architecture in painting only strengthened its position, but here's the strangeness: the artists portrayed the pyramids pointed - not so familiar to modern man to see them.

N. Poussin. "Finding Moses" (detail)

The erection of the pyramids once obeyed, apparently, rather strict rules - this is noticeable by the geometric accuracy with which the internal space of these structures is organized, by the impeccable orientation relative to the cardinal points. As for the angle of inclination of the face of the pyramid to its base, according to ancient Egyptian customs, was about 50 degrees. In relation to the largest and most famous pyramid, which is considered one of the wonders of the world - the pyramid of Cheops, this figure is just over 51 degrees - not large enough to make the pyramid pointed.

Domenichino. "Landscape with flight to Egypt" Athanasius Kircher, 17th century polymatologist and Egyptologist

But for some reason, the graphic and pictorial images of the pyramid of Cheops and others, made in the 17th-18th centuries, differ significantly from the originals. And if one such episode could still be attributed to the artist's inexperience or a mistake in depicting perspective, then the variety of works that have survived to this day suggests something else: in the minds of the artists of that time - including experienced landscape painters - the Egyptian pyramids really turned out to be pointed.

Egypt as depicted by Robert Hubert, an 18th century ruinist painter Cornelis de Bruyne, who himself visited Egypt, depicted the pyramids of Giza like this

Nubian elongated pyramids

It cannot be said that such outlines were not characteristic of any pyramids. No, on the same African continent, only much farther south, closer to the equator, you can find just the same peaked pyramids, and in greater numbers than in Egypt. We are talking about the pyramids of Nubia - a historical area located upstream of the Nile, in the territory of modern Sudan.

Nubian pyramids

The Egyptians built their pyramids from about the 27th century BC, after a little over a millennium, this tradition ceased. For this reason, by the way, there are no written sources concerning the details of the construction itself. The only author who described this process, Herodotus, created his work after another millennium - and only on the basis of legends and traditions. And the Nubians, who were strongly influenced by neighboring Egypt, began to erect the first pyramids in the 8th century BC. The first tombs for the royal family appeared in El-Kurru, a large necropolis. The height of the Nubian pyramids ranged from 6 to 30 meters, and the angle of inclination of the sides was approximately 70 degrees.

Pyramids of the city of Meroe, Nubia

There are almost twice as many of these structures as there are ancient Egyptian pyramids, but this hardly explains the distortions of proportions that were allowed by artists two and a half centuries ago: after all, it was Egyptian sights that appeared in the paintings. By the way, the hieroglyph "pyramid" itself, which appeared on ancient monuments, it looked exactly like an elongated triangle.

And this is how the pyramid of Cheops looks like

Ground for fantasies and new theories

This nuance, one of the many "white spots" in the description of the history of Egypt and the history of the study of Egypt, has become one of the building blocks underlying various theories that offer a different vision of the history of mankind. Along with other legends about the Sphinx and the pyramids, attributing their construction to either alien or terrestrial, but still supercivilizations, a theory arises that until recently, several centuries ago, the pyramids themselves looked quite different from what they are now, but were rebuilt for some reasons not obvious to us, for example, in order to hide the contents and true purpose of the pyramids.

Step pyramid of Djoser, Ancient Egypt

Despite the fact that hypotheses about an alternative dating of the history of Egypt and the transfer of the date of construction of the pyramids to a new era and even in recent centuries are refuted by scientific research and often become the result of an arbitrary selection of facts to obtain the desired result, fantasies on the ancient Egyptian theme remain extremely fascinating. It is not without reason that much attention is paid to the alternative history of ancient civilizations in modern culture. The temptation to believe in a big falsification, to see your explanation where science has not yet left an official one, is very characteristic of human nature.

The ancient hieroglyph "pyramid" also has an elongated shape

Be that as it may, and in museums around the world, visitors still see the Egyptian pyramids as they knew - or imagined - artists from the recent past, for whatever reasons they did not create these images.

Pyramids of Giza

The pyramids and tombs themselves will throw riddles at us for a long time: for example, about where the false doors lead and who could pass through them.

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