The first difference is in the location. Although these paintings are both in tombs, Anhirkawi's tomb was a simple artisan's tomb in the family vault just up the hill from his village of Deir el-Medina. Montuhirkhopeshef was buried in an incomplete tomb in the Valley of the Kings, a burial site usually reserved for pharaohs. There are some differences in clothing; Anhirkawi and his family are all in kilts as is Montuhirkhopeshef. The Prince, however, also has a more gauzy tunic and long over-kilt, large pectoral necklace, and red and blue kilt tassels. Anhirkawi and his family have their own hair, the young girls' being shaved and braided in the manner of childrens' hairdos; Montuhirkhopeshef wears the Horus lock often seen on royal sons. The Prince is somewhat idealized, with lovely lines delineating his profile and facial details (see detail below). Anhirkawi's painting has figures which seem more generalized and less coloristically well-done than the Prince's. The greatest contrast can be seen in the actions of the participants. Montuhirkhopeshef is shown striding to an offering table, mostly in the hieratic pose except for his left arm crossing over his body. But Anhirkawi is shown relaxing with his wife and daughters; his wife demonstrates her affection by putting her arm around him, Anhirkawi plays with a lock of his eldest daughter's hair, and one daughter offers a toy to her younger sister. This is an example of royal versus non-royal art production; royal images are more idealized and meant to be perfect for all eternity, but non-royal art can be more relaxed, naturalistic, and emotional.
There are quite a few similarities between these depictions. They both have funerary contexts, being tomb paintings. Both are scenes of offering; Montuhirkhopeshef is offering an oblation to the gods, while Anhirkawi's sons bear him gifts. Both offering tables have food offerings on them; Montuhirkhopshef's is heaped higher with goods and is surrounded with vegetal decoration. Figural similarities abound, which is to be expected since the paintings were done in about the same period and by very similar artists. The eyes are slanted, almond-shaped, with pointed and long canthi and outer corners. The eyelid creases are delineated in both, and have high, arching eyebrows. The nostrils are clearly shown in the side view. The mouths are small and tight, although Montuhirkhopeshef's lips protrude more and are colored red while Anhirkawi's lips are not distinguished much from the rest of his face. The proportions of the figures in these paintings are the slim, curvilinear, elegantly-limbed bodies of the late New Kingdom; elbows are rather sharp, fingers long, and waists slender. Toes, toenails, and fingers are very carefully detailed in both. All the figures have hair or wigs displaying all their ribbed textures. Finally, Montuhirkhopeshef's striding pose is very close to the poses of Anhirkawi's sons regarding motion and position.
It is important to keep in mind that these works of art were paid for the same way--in food. The artists who made Montuhirkhopeshef's tomb were paid in rations of food from the government. The makers of Anhirkawi's tomb were paid with the same rations of food, which Anhirkawi bartered to them in return for the tomb work. Most likely, however, Montuhirkhopeshef's tomb was paid for more richly than Anhirkawi's, since he was a royal prince. The same artists could easily have worked in both tombs, and this accounts for the stylistic similarities. However, the slightly higher quality work in Montuhirkhopeshef's tomb and the warm family atmosphere of Anhirkawi's painting point to some of the differences in patronage and artistic depictions between royalty and non-royal Egyptians throughout Egyptian history.
Detail, Montuhirkhopeshef (from another part of the tomb)
All illustrations taken from John Romer's Valley of the Kings (1981) and Romer's Ancient Lives (1984). Dates according to Romer.