|Author||Lawrence M. Berman|
|Publisher||Oxford University Press|
|Publication Date||April 11, 1996|
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The Egyptian galleries at the Louvre are perhaps the best-known in the world, containing some of the most precious works of art ever found among the ruins of the ancient kingdoms that once rose along the Nile. This year, with the renovation of the Egyptian wing of the Louvre, Americans will have the rare opportunity to view thirty of these treasures firsthand: works that have never traveled since their initial acquisition by the Louvre are being gathered for an unprecedented exhibition that opens at the Cleveland Museum of Art. This beautifully illustrated catalogue offers a complete record of the exhibition, and provides a veritable feast for all Egyptologists and other avid fans of Ancient Egypt. Pharaohs of Egypt features all thirty of these masterpieces of Egyptian art, and includes images of rulers from all the major periods of Egyptian history, as seen in the statues, reliefs, and stelae (largely done in stone) of the original collection.
Ranging from tiny (five-inch) statuettes to over-lifesize statues, all thirty pieces are presented here and fully described for the reader's enjoyment. Take, for example, the "Head of Djedefra" from the Old Kingdom, Dynasty 4, ca. 2526-2518 BCE. The accompanying text not only gives the provenance of the statue but also offers the means used to identify the ruler (a comparison of two other heads of Djedefra in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo), cites the differences from other statues of the period, gives the symbolism of certain details (the red stone was used specifically to illustrate that this ruler considered himself a "son of Ra," the sun god), and a brief history of the pharaoh and his reign.
Lawrence M. Berman, who organized the exhibition in Cleveland, offers an essay on the "Image of the King in Ancient Egypt" which gives additional historical background and helps place the exhibit in the appropriate context. Bernadette Letellier, the curator of Eqyptian antiquities at the Louvre, has contributed a concise and fascinating history of the Louvre's collection, the only English description of the galleries currently available. To help further orient the reader, there is a Chronology, a Key to Abbreviations, a map, and additional documentation.
Pharaohs of Egypt is a lavish collection of treasures for art lovers and antiquities students alike. The wealth of archaeological information combined with the sheer beauty of the pieces themselves result in a lush and richly detailed presentation that is not only an essential companion for anyone planning to attend the exhibit, but an invaluable addition to the library of every lover of art, archaeology, and Egyptology.