If there is any hope of discovering the process out of which it emerges, ancient Egypt might be the place that will yield some clues.
The admirable show, “Dawn of Egyptian Art,” put together at the Metropolitan Museum of Art by Diana Craig Patch, reveals a world of seething artistic creation headed in multiple directions. Much of it bears no recognizable connection to the statuary and objects from Egypt under its historic dynasties.
The most startling revelation is the simultaneous existence by the end of the fourth millennium B.C. of pure abstraction, highly stylized figuration and representational art close to nature.
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