Sample Art Essay Paper on Statue of Nykara and his Family


Brooklyn Museum is located in the borough of Brooklyn in New York City covering a wide space measured at 560,000 square feet.  This is one of the largest museums in respect to physical space and holds broad array of collections estimated at more than million works. The museum borders an elaborate neighborhood of Prospect and Crown Heights and was initially planned to be the largest museum in the world.  It is worth pointing out that the museum initially faced challenges of managing the building and collections. However, these challenges become problems of the past when initiatives were implemented to completely renovate the structures and artworks.

Significantly, the collections hold variety of artworks comprising of antiques and wide variety of Egyptian arts dating back to more than 3,000 years. Nonetheless, the museum also boosts of having varied collections European, African and Japanese artworks that supplements already available Egyptian arts. It has been revealed that Brooklyn museum has collections of American arts dating back to colonial period especially by notable artist such as Edward Hopper, Edgar Degas, and Max Weber among others (Brooklyn Museum n.p). The museum is guided by great values of art and experiences, providing myriad histories, creating an open environment full of free expression. Further, the museum strives to ensure action to impact on cultural diversity while promoting professionalism and passion in its endeavor. The museum endeavors to create inspiring interactions with art that expand how people view the world and its possibilities. Upon visiting the museum my attention was drawn to Egyptian art, where I was privileged to view Statue of Nykara and his Family artwork. This is a sculpture made from limestone and is instrumental signifying the position occupied by male members in ancient Egyptian culture. This is evident because the main object, Nykara is taller than all the other objects. Also, the son known as Ankhmara is given same height as the mother despite showing all the characteristics of a child.

Statue of Nykara and his Family

This artwork can be viewed at The Brooklyn museum under Egyptian art galleries on the 3rd floor. This art can be classified as an Egyptian, classical and ancient near eastern artwork composed by a mixture of limestone and pigments.  Historically, the art was composed in Africa to depict the nature of Nykara who were traditional chiefs in Egypt. Statue of Nykara and his Family date back to ca. 2455-2350 B.C.E. falling under the late dynasty v of the Old kingdom period. Physically, the artwork in display at the Brooklyn museum measures 57.5 x 36.8 x 27.7 cm, and credited to Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund.

The art features Nykara, an Egyptian chief or Scribe of the Granary surrounded by two objects identified as his wife and son. A closer look at the art reveals that if Nykara was to be depicted standing, he would have been taller than the son and wife and would therefore tower upon them.  However, the son is depicted to have the same height as that of the mother despite being so young and childish as depicted by the way he is gesturing finger-to-mouth. The artist desired to depict the three objects to be having the same height with all the three heads in a row. This art is a limestone painting of three objects one sited at the center while the others are standing on either side of the main object. The object on the left hand side is the son standing naked with finger on his mouth. The three objects are inclined to have all the three heads in the same row; the vertical line has helped the artist achieve proportionality.

Unfortunately, the condition of the art is poor because all heads are broken from the bodies; the head of the main object is partially damaged though the other two heads are less damaged. Moreover, minor chips can be observed with the artwork appearing to have lost some color as a result of deterioration. The artist has extensively used color as an element in design, it can be seen that Nykara and his son are darker as compared to the wife. This follows Egyptian conventions and beliefs demonstrating that men in society were to appear more reddish in color as compared to women who appear yellowish (Joshua n.p). Egyptian artists believed that color just like gestures was symbolic in Ancient Egyptian art (Souren n.p).  This art is unrealistic because in real life it is difficult to find a son of the same height as that of the mother, and the color of skin is only a depiction of how Egyptian society viewed men.

The artist expressively uses shapes and forms to depict human bodies and the main object in the composition. For that matter, the artist has basically used symmetrical and aesthetically pleasing forms to suggest that Nykara is the main object in the composition, in fact, visual analyst ask themselves questions as to how would that composition appear if Nykara stood up. He would overwhelm and overshadow all the other objects because Nykara would appear taller. The artist wanted to achieve uniformity and uniform by placing the central figure to sit to have same heights. Also, the artist has appropriately used line to depict the vertical equality of the woman and son; this is despite the son posing with nudity to reveal him as smaller. Based on Egyptian culture, this stature was to be placed in Nykara’s tomb since tomb statues were to include a man, his spouse and children. Fundamentally, this was the only way of showing identity and respect to a person of Nykara caliber.

The artwork has observed hierarchical scale to make more unrealistic while ensuring that it is aesthetically pleasing to the audience. In respect to family beliefs, Nykara is the household head because he is sited right at the center and he would appear taller if was allowed to stand. The son is also as tall as the mother and his head aligns with that of the mother signifying prominence given male members of society in ancient Egypt culture. However, Ankhmara, the son has not been depicted as young because of his height; this has elicited varied reactions from visual analysts. But, key features revealed on the art shows that he is actually a child. First, the boy is completely naked and appear to be sucking his finger, in Egyptian culture, these are signs of child. Secondly, his hair is plaited and locked on right hand side of his head, it is believed that only at puberty were male Egyptians allowed to plait and neatly cut their hair (Riggs n.p).

The theme and subject matter of Statue of Nykara and his Family artwork revolves around institution of the family and the position occupied by male members of the Egyptian society. It has been elaborated that this statue was to be placed in the tomb of Nykara as a show of respect and signify the value of family in one’s life (Robins 77). Visual artists have for a long time depicted men as quite different from female (Winkler n.p). For instance, it is believed that Egyptians viewed beards and moustaches as unclean and for that matter both Nykara and the son have clean-shaven faces. Also, the son appears to have a neatly plaited and cut hairstyle that signifying beauty and importance. In fact, Egyptians believed that skin color was equally important in portraying men as powerful and most valued gender, for that, their skin color was portraying as reddish or brownish (Hannah n.p). These are traits that both Nykara and the son possess. Symmetry has helped the artist achieve this mission because male members have to be masculine in nature. Notably, it has been revealed that family was an important institution in Ancient Egyptian culture because pride was attached to it (Hodge 25). Lineage was to be traced through both father and mother lines, respect and cornerstone of morality was the duty of the eldest son as depicted in Statue of Nykara and his Family. Also, male members were to take care of the family after the death of the father and were to ensure that parents receive befitting and property burial.

Brooklyn Museum Visit Experience

As pointed above, this museum collates a lot of artwork from different cultures and time periods. However, my attention was attracted to Egyptian art where I was able to view and analyze Statue of Nykara and his Family piece of art.The experience was exiting as it ought to be as I was able to meet students and other art lovers interested in Egyptian art collections. The Egyptian Art collection exhibition was fascinating because the collections are unparalleled and are constantly reorganized and reinstalled. Notable artwork that caught my attention was Statue of Nykara and his Family because it reinforces Egyptian beliefs on the importance of family institution and the crucial role played by male members in society. Also, the massive collection of Egyptian arts surprised many people who visited the museum on that day. Statue of Nykara and his Family was instrumental in making my day interesting and colorful because closer look at the art, one could just appreciate the sheer effort that went through the art. Distinctively, the reddish color that was used to reveal the body of male objects in the composition was above board. Despite not being real, the artwork met all the conventions and requirements of Ancient Egyptian art of the period. I have always been a huge fan of Egyptian art, Statue of Nykara and his Family gave me the opportunity to actually visualize art. What I liked about the art was the many small details that provided valuable hints on Egyptian art themes and subject matter. However, I disliked how the art was partly damaged as the head of the three objects were missing some parts. The art portrayed rich Egyptian culture that was learnt in class through lecture materials. For that matter, lecture materials played critical role in confirming various attributes of Egyptian art that needed concentration and attention.


The museum visit was instrumental in understanding that Statue of Nykara and his Family signified the position occupied by male members of society and the importance of family. I am cognizant of the fact that Egyptian art is important in instilling knowledge on ancient beliefs and values of Egyptians. Overall, the museum visit was educative and entertaining; therefore I would recommend it for students and art lovers who are interested in ancient Egyptian culture.  

Works Cited

Brooklyn Museum. Statue of Nykara and his Family. Brooklyn Museum. Brooklyn Museum,

2017. Available at: Accessed December 5, 2017.

Hannah Keyser. Why Does Egyptian Art Look So Flat and Static? Mental Floss. Mental Floss,

29 June 2015. Available at: Accessed December 5, 2017.

Hodge, Susie. Ancient Egyptian Art. Des Plaines, Ill.: Heinemann Interactive Library, 2006.


Joshua J. Mark. Ancient Egyptian Art. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Ancient History

Encyclopedia, 26 May 2017. Available at: Accessed December 5, 2017.

Riggs Christina. 10 surprising facts about Ancient Egyptian art and architecture. OUPblog.

OUPblog, 1 April, 2016. Available at: Accessed December 5, 2017.

Robins, Gay. The Art of Ancient Egypt. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2008.


Souren Melikian. The Roots of Art in Ancient Egypt. New York Times. New York Times, 15

June 2012. Available at: Accessed December 5, 2017.

Winkler Mary. History of Art: Ancient Egypt. Tutsplus. Tutsplus, 2 Sep 2016. Available at:–cms-26908. Accessed December 5, 2017.


Fig. 1: Statue of Nykara and his Family, ca. 2455-2350 B.C.E.