The Foundations of Graphic Arts: Learning About Egyptian Hieroglyphs Graphic arts is a type of fine art that includes several different types of art forms. The field of graphic arts includes photography, drawing, painting, printmaking, and lithography, among other things. If you are interested in studying graphic arts, then now is the perfect time to do it. There is a great need for graphic designers in our ever-changing technological world. A knowledge of graphic arts is useful in graphic design, web design, information design, and architectural design. If you’re interested in any of these fields, a background in graphic arts will be very helpful in propelling you towards becoming successful in a future career. The Evolution of Graphic Arts The field of graphic arts has certainly evolved and changed throughout the years into what it currently is now. In order to understand the evolution of graphic arts, it is important to understand how and where it originated. One of the first forms of graphic arts in recorded history is that of the hieroglyphs of the Egyptians. Hieroglyphs were basically pictures that Egyptians drew on clay, pots, or anything that would hold an inscription. The hieroglyphs were basically like the Egyptians’ language. Some of them were pictures that literally stood for physical objects, and some of them were more like an alphabet. It is debated among historians as to whether the Egyptians invented the hieroglyphs on their own, or if they were influenced by the Sumerian script. Because it is not clear from any record in existence when each of these languages first came into being, this could perhaps be a historical puzzle that is never completely solved. Clues for Deciphering Hieroglyphs There are many interesting clues available for scholars to be able to learn about and decipher Egyptian hieroglyphs, however. The Rosetta Stone in particular was key in helping historians learn how to read and understand Egyptian hieroglyphs. Upon the Stone is written a decree issued from King Ptolemy V in Memphis, Egypt around the year 196 BC. The decree is written in 3 different languages: Egyptian hieroglyphs, Demotic script, and Ancient Greek. Because the same decree is written three times over in three different languages, this provided hieroglyphs experts with massive amounts of information about how to read and interpret hieroglyphics. The Rosetta Stone is currently housed in the British Museum in London. The word “hieroglyphs” means “sacred drawings” in Greek. Many hieroglyphs were used for religious purposes in Ancient Egypt. Oftentimes, in order to distinguish between religious writings and regular writings, the Egyptians would write their hieroglyphs in cursive to be able to tell them apart. But the hieroglyphs of the Egyptians obviously couldn’t last forever. When the Greeks conquered Egypt under Alexander the Great, the Greek language began to take over in the Egyptian culture. Many hieroglyphs were only used for religious purposes at that time. As time went by, people began gradually converting to Christianity, and so the hieroglyphs were no longer needed for religious reasons. The hieroglyphs slowly faded out of use at this time. Although it is sad that many things are still unknown about Egyptian hieroglyphs, there is still a lot that historians do know. It is interesting to learn and know about this language that plays a key role in the foundation of modern graphic arts.