Ancient Egyptian Art in the Greco-Roman Period


The ancient Egyptian civilization continues to leave an indelible mark on modern art and culture,Despite its downfall over 2,000 years ago. This is evidenced in the art, architecture, and beliefs that continue to inspire contemporary imaginations. The Greco-Roman Period, which began after the conquest by Alexander the Great in 332 BCE. It was famous by remarkable cultural and artistic exchange between Egypt, Greece, and Rome. This essay examines Ancient Egyptian art during the Greco-Roman Period, exploring some of the transformations that occurred in the artistic styles and subject matter.

Artistic style

During the Greco-Roman Period, Egyptian art went through a significant change, adopting Greek and Roman elements.  The art style that emerged was known as ‘Egypto-Roman,’ creating a fusion aesthetic that combined Hellenistic and Egyptian arts. Sculpture was a key art form that espoused the new style. With such statues being identified by their elongated proportions of the human form and intricate details on the hair and clothing. Most of these were sculpted in the round. Which allowed viewers to admire them from all angles. Another unique feature of the Egypto-Roman artistic style was the emphasis on facial expression, a trademark of Hellenistic art.

Subject matter

Egyptian art during the Greco-Roman Period broke away from the religious and funerary themes that characterized earlier periods. Instead, it shifted its focus towards mythology (borrowed from the Greeks) and portraits. In mythology, the Greeks had gods and goddesses that often embodied human qualities like love, jealousy or anger; this gave the artists a new way to represent the divine. Portraiture became the new artistic expression used to render the human experience through art. This was famous by the emergence of painted portraits of Roman and Egyptian noblemen. These were a symbol of status and patronage, and often depicted the subject as a wise, introspective, and collected figure.


In fact, Ancient Egyptian art has, over the years, been an incredible source of inspiration for many artists worldwide. Its influence can be in art and cultural creations of various civilizations as they attempt to incorporate it in their own style. The Greco-Roman Period was famous by a cultural exchange that left a lasting impact on the art of Ancient Egypt, creating a fascinating fusion of different styles, themes, and aesthetic attributes. Egyptian art during the Greco-Roman Period broke away from representing the divine, embracing new forms like mythology and portraiture. Despite the changes, Ancient Egyptian art continued to dominate, leaving behind an artistic legacy that continues to thrive to date.