James Blake Wiener
published on 26 July 2012
The Dawn of Egyptian Art (New York, USA) brings together some 175 objects gathered from the Metropolitan and 12 other museums to illustrate the origins and early development of ancient Egyptian art. During the Pre-dynastic and Early Dynastic Periods (c. 40002650 BCE), people living in the Nile Valley began recording their beliefs in paintings, sculptures, and reliefs made for their shrines and tombs. These works of art capture the evolving world-view of these early Egyptians. Images of people, animals, and landscapes, some of which give rise to hieroglyphs, include forms and iconography that remained in use throughout the art of Pharaonic Egypt. Catalogue available. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York through August 5.
Egyptomania (Houston, USA) explores the Egyptian revivals of the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries through objects including Georgian garden sphinxes, 19th-century "Aegyptian" furniture and Art Deco perfume bottles with pharaoh-head stoppers. Museum of Fine Arts Houston through August 5.
Picturing the Past: Imaging and Imagining the Ancient Middle East (Chicago, USA): The West's perception of the ancient Middle East has been formed by countless engravings, paintings, architectural reconstructions, facsimiles, models, photographs, and computer-aided reconstructions of monuments and sites. This collection of 40 examples of art depicting ancient sites examines how preconceptions, the perceived audience and artistic conventions have informed us about the ancient Middle East and how some of the more imaginary reconstructions have obscured our understanding of the past. Catalogue available. Oriental Institute, University of Chicago through September 2.
The Civilizations of Turkey: Emperors in Istanbul (Seoul, South Korea) explores the rich cultural heritage of Istanbul from its days as the center of the Hittite civilization, one of the four great ancient civilizations, to its days as capital of the Greek and Roman Empire and the Eastern Roman Empire, and finally the Ottoman Empire. On display are 187 important Turkish treasures from the Topkapi Palace Museum and other institutions, including artifacts from Troy, Anatolia and Persia, as well as Greek and Roman sculptures, holy relics of the Eastern Roman Empire and works of art from the court of the Ottoman sultans. National Museum of Korea, Seoul through September 2.
Pergamon: Panorama of the Ancient Metropolis (Berlin, Germany) displays a wide variety of sculptures, mosaics, coins, ceramics and metal devices--along with a monumental 360 degree panorama--to present a vivid picture of life in the glittering ancient city, home of the famous Great Altar, with its depiction of the gods' battle against the giants. Most of the 450 exhibits, presented in their original architectural and functional contexts, have never been displayed before. Paintings, historical photographs, and archival documents provide insight into the history of the discovery and research of the site. Pergamonmuseum, Berlin through September 30.
Beyond the Horizon: Space and Knowledge in the Cultures of the Ancient World (Berlin, Germany) addresses questions about the understanding of space in the ancient cultures of the Mediterranean region. Even in antiquity, man would observe his environment, adapt himself to the natural conditions it imposed and shape it according to his needs. Through the development of writing, he was able to create new forms of organization, to preserve and pass on knowledge and to archive information. The observation of the heavens, reflected in early records from the Near East, Egypt, and Europe, and the mapping of the world, reflected in text and illustration, are covered in two sections of the exhibition. More than 400 objects create a panorama of the journeys of the gods, physical and spiritual realms, curses, oracles, even sound spaces, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the lived reality of antiquity. Pergamonmuseum, Berlin through September 30.
Orient and Occident: Austrian Artists Traveling East (Vienna, Austria) assembles works by painters who set out for faraway countries in the 19th century to seek new artistic challenges. Initially, they chose their subjects for their documentary significance and described them with great precision. Yet gradually, their paintings and drawings came to reflect the visual charm of the foreign lands, the pictorial translation of sunlight and the rendering of heat, as well as the changes brought about by these phenomena in the natural landscape. One of the most important Austrian painters active in the East was Leopold Carl Müller who spent nine winters in Egypt, painting numerous market scenes and figural subjects. Alois Schönn, Alphons Mielich, Ludwig Libay, Bernhard Fiedler, and a number of other Austrian artists also traveled to eastern countries, and a few, such as Rudolf Swoboda and Hermann von Königsbrunn, even got as far as India and today's Sri Lanka. The exhibition presents views of Hungary, the Balkans, Greece, Constantinople, Egypt, the Holy Land, India, Sri Lanka, and the Indian Ocean. Austrian Gallery Belvedere, Vienna through October 14.
Die Unsterblichen Götter Griechenlands (Munich, Germany) -- translates to "The Immortal Gods of Greece" -- presents a large variety of Greek gods, explaining the meaning of gods and their cults in ancient Greece. The exhibition shows how omnipresent the Gods were in Greek life while at the same time the display brings order into the gods and their attributes. The visitor will be able to recognize the different gods and their places in Greek life and understand how people worshipped gods in their respective temples, through sacrifice and prayer. Antikensammlungen München, through 07 July 2013.
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