1 University of Houston Visual Analysis Monumental Statue of the Pharaoh Ramesses II Enthroned




University of Houston







Visual Analysis

Monumental Statue of the Pharaoh Ramesses II Enthroned











Abhishek Prajapati

ARTH1380-Art and Society Prehistoric to Gothic

February 23, 2020


John Doe





The work being addressed in the analysis is a visual artwork, which is a statue of (n.d

,2020) Pharaoh Ramesses is a historical ruler of Egypt who reigned from 1279 B.C. to 1212

B.C. The making of the statue in his remembrance is associated with his reputation as one of

the Egyptian kings, who had great military success. The statue is one of the many that were

created in his honor and remembrance. In the addressed artwork, Ramesses is depicted sitting

with his arms placed on his thighs. As described, the statue was given by Caroline Wiess Law

Foundation as a gift to the museum. The statue represents the religious beliefs of the Egyptians,

who regarded Ramesses II as having an origin from a god. The name of the person being

depicted is inscribed at the back of the statue and the belt buckle, which makes it easy to

identify it with Ramesses II, an Egyptian Pharaoh. The design of the sculpture and its elements

give a clear visual indication of the setting of the art of work and convey a deep meaning

concerning the person being depicted and the associated culture.


A proper analysis of the appearance of the statue can help derive some facts about the

artwork. First, the figure depicts a person sitting down on a cube with the hands placed on the

thighs. The pose is unique and is easily related to the pharaohs according to the Egyptian

culture. The statue has been carved from granodiorite, which is a form of a rock that was

commonly used to make statues that have proven to be durable as seen but the work. One

element that suggests that the sculpture relates to the Egyptian culture is the inscriptions

made at the back, and on each side. The inscriptions contain symbols that symbolize the

Egyptian heritage. The inscriptions, including the name of the person being represented, give

a visual identity to the statue, and one can easily relate its origin.


One undeniable fact is that the statue is not whole, with some parts such as the head

and the feet missing. However, the lower parts of a headdress that was worn by pharaohs are





still intact. Other components such as the left hand are worn out, which could be because of

movement. The dimensions of the statue, even without the head and the feet, suggest that it is

bigger than a normal human being. The figure is three dimensional and requires a viewer to

view it from all sides to understand it well because different elements are depicted from each

side. From the front view, a viewer can deduce that the statue depicts a Pharaoh sitting on his

throne due to the pose. The back-view exposes inscriptions that give a message associated

with the statue.


A further inquiry about the statue reveals that it was originally whole and missing

parts mentioned were intact. The appearance of the statue is fascinating and prompts one to

be curious of the technique used which seems to be advanced for the ancient times. The

visible parts of the body have been carved from a rock. Although the statue is bigger

compared to a human, it is an accurate representation of a person. From visual observation,

the accuracy depicted by the statue must have demanded a lot of time considering that there

was no advanced technology during the time it was made. It is also evident that the ancient

Egyptian sculptors had a good choice of materials for making statues that had a good visual

appeal and lasted for long without being damaged. As observed, the whole statue is of the

same color due to the use of a solid rock for its carving. Thus, a differentiation of its

components have been achieved through an accurate carving technique.


From observation, the surface of the sculpture is moderately smoothened and does not

contain any coat of paint. Despite having some parts missing, the statue suggests that it was

designed to be symmetrical, with both the right and the left sides almost similar. As

mentioned above, the statue was made using granodiorite, and the technique used was sunken

relief. The technique was commonly used in Egypt, where the inscriptions were done using a





chisel to bring out a shape. Before the inscriptions were made, the statue was first carved

from a rock, though the original work is believed to have been modified. The deep cuts on the

statue are essential because they help to enhance its visual appearance when viewed under the

light as the inscriptions become heightened by shadows.


The sunken relief technique improves the 3D impression of art. Additionally, the

technique ensures that the elements of the work that are carved from a surface remain to be a

part of the material in the background. The advantage of the technique is that the artwork is

more firm compared to other techniques. The statue indicates a pharaoh being represented but

does not give proper hints on his age. Thus, from the texture of the artwork, one can

approximate that the pharaoh depicted is a youth. Due to the use of sunken relief technique,

the statue has proven to be durable despite some wear that has led to the loss of some of its



The statue of Ramesses II is an excellent example of the ancient works of arts, and its

analysis aids in understanding the techniques that were used and the meaning the work

carried. The statue is old and has managed to prevail up to date, suggesting that ancient

techniques could produce durable artworks. The analysis of the statue illustrates the

consideration of 3D appearance by the artist behind the work. Additionally, the work was

conducted to be visually appealing, especially in a lighted environment. The statue was

carved from a stone and then shaped using sunken relief technology. The inscriptions were

also made using sunken relief technology, which entailed the use of a chisel to cut deep into

the surface. The technique ensured that the whole statue was made of one material. The

visual observation of the statue gives a good background of the person being depicted and the

culture from which it came from, which provides it with an identity in the field of art.






n.d. (2020) Pharaoh Ramesses II. . The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, TX.

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