from the collection of the DIA

From the collection of the DIA
Sculptor's Model Foot
332/30 BC Ptolemaic Period
Egypt
limestone, stone
Gift of Mrs. Constance Haass McMath

Foot complete to ankle resting on base. Proportioned squares and drawing of toes in ink on bottom of base.



Ancient Egyptian paintings and sculptures of the human figure were timeless and symbolic images intended to last forever. Egyptians did not create realistic portraits of particular people. Artists worked according to strict guidelines. Sculptors carved figures that stand and sit erect, look straight ahead, and do not show any sign of emotion. This foot is a fragment of a model that helped a sculptor plan his work according to a systems of proportions, based on a grid of squares. Standing figures were 18 grid squares tall from the soles of their feet to their hairlines. Each foot was three squares wide. On the bottom of this foot three squares are faintly outlined with the toes taking up the first square.

Detroit Institute of Arts: Ancient Egypt Lesson Plans for Teachers