Shadow of the Sphinx brings light to modern Egyptian art
You can see mummies, scarabs and jewels, as well as what they have inspired over the centuries at the new Shadow of the Sphinx exhibit at the Munson-Williams-Proctor Art Museum in Utica. Our Andrew Sorensen tells us how the museum captured all of the ancient intrigue of Egypt through art.
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UTICA, N.Y.-- Follow the snakes down the hall at the Munson-Williams-Proctor Art Museum and you are likely to find an interesting treat.
"'Shadow of the Sphinx: Ancient Egypt and it's influence traces the influence of ancient Egypt. We really move from the sands of ancient Egypt to the stage sets of Hollywood," MWPI Art Museum Director and Curator Anna D'Ambrosio explained at its opening Sunday.
When Napoleon rediscovered the cultural contributions of the pharaohs at the dawn of the nineteenth century it resurrected a wave of interest. The museum has brought in Egyptologists like Dr. Peter Lacovara to accompany this exhibit with lectures on the trend.
"I think ancient Egypt has always fascinated people. Even the ancient Egyptians were fascinated by their own remote heritage and then the Greeks and the Romans after them," Dr. Lacovara said.
More than 150 works of art captured that interest by starting with the originals and progressing through time.
"I think that artists are captivated by the beauty of the Egyptian objects and also maybe the color and the beautiful use of materials," D'Ambrosio said.
The experts suggest taking a closer look at the fine detail the ancient artists used to get the most out the exhibit.
They even provide magnifying glasses to see every mark.
"It's really such a minute craftsmanship that is something we couldn't duplicate today, let alone, they had far more primitive equipment," Dr. Lacovara said.
Nineteenth century artists attempted to copy or portray some of these styles, and in some cases, created incredibly accurate sculptures and paintings.
"But then other paintings are very romanticized," D'Ambrosio explained. "So we can see Cleopatra along the Nile at File for example."
Despite some of the historical flaws, the art shows the creative and magnificent styles and history reclaimed from the sands of time.
Shadow of the Sphinx will be on display at Munson-Williams-Proctor until November 25.
Their lecture series continues throughout the summer.