When the Pyramids Were Built: Egyptian Art of the Old Kingdom (英語) ハードカバー – 1999/11/13
The Old Kingdom (about 2650-2150 B.C.E.) was the first golden age of Egyptian culture, a period that determined the form and character of Egyptian art for centuries to come. From the Third through the Sixth Dynasty, not only were the pyramids built in vast construction efforts, but artists working in an array of mediums and techniques-- stone, wood, precious metals, monumental statuary, reliefs, and wall paintings-- created masterpieces that still have the power to move us more than four millennia later.
This splendid volume, published to accompany a landmark exhibition organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Reunion des Musees Nationaux in Paris, and the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, brings together 115 Old Kingdom masterworks from museum collections throughout the world. Included are sculptures executed with such an acute observation of musculature and body movement that they brought an unprecedented realism to the rendering of men, women, children, and animals. Several depictions of family groups in particular show the sensitivity with which Old Kingdom artists illuminated human relationships. Individual masterpieces include the monumental statue of Hemiunu, thought to be responsible for the construction of the Great Pyramid at Giza; groups representing the Fourth Dynasty king Menkaure with a queen and various deities; and a unique alabaster statuette showing the Sixth Dynasty queen Ankh-nes-meryre II holding her son, the child king Pepi II, in her lap. In addition, there are delicate relief carvings that provide some of the earliest, most joyful artistic representations of daily life, stunning decorative-art pieces (jars, vases, jewelry, even a musicalinstrument), and a number of rare Old Kingdom wall paintings. The lively text by Dorothea Arnold offers an overview of the history, society, and art of the Old Kingdom and an informative discussion of each of the illustrated works. All of the pieces were newly photographed for the book by Bruce White.
The Egyptian Old Kingdom (c. 2650-2150 BC) was an era of extraordinary artistic achievement-the period that gave us the Sphinx and the pyramids as well as a rich legacy of private tombs, wall paintings, reliefs, statuary, jewelry, and decorative arts. This book, the companion volume to a major traveling exhibition organized by New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Louvre in Paris, showcases the most impressive assemblage of Egyptian art and artifacts since the Tutankhamun exhibition of the late 1970s. Scholarly essays and 650 illustrations bring to life a remarkable panoply of Old Kingdom objects-temple and tomb reliefs, striking gold jewelry, handsome stone vessels, monumental statues, stelae, and exquisite statuettes. Together, text and images create a stunning tribute to the world of the Pharaohs. 650 illustrations, 500 in full color, 9 x 12" Advertising: Art magazines Dorothea Arnold is the Lila Acheson Wallace Curator in Charge of Egyptian Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the author of many books and articles. Catharine H. Roehrig is associate curator in the Department of Egyptian Art at the Metropolitan. Christiane Ziegler is conservateur general of the Department of Egyptian Antiquities at the Louvre in Paris. Exhibition Schedule Grand Palais, Paris Apr. 6-Aug. 12, 1999 The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Sept. 16, 1999-Jan. 9, 2000 Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto Feb. 12-May 16, 2000
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For those not able to see the exhibition this book is a wonderful guide and source of information that can be enjoyed by people just developing an interest in early Egypt and also by those with a fairly advanced knowledge of this civilisation and its wonders. I was amazed by the terrific attention to detail and especially by the fact that many of the items featured have not been widely seen or examined in detail before. The volume begins with some detailed maps of the different regions of Egypt in the Old Kingdom period so that the reader can get a feel for where the various items featured originated from. A brief run down on the six dynasties of the Old Kingdom and their history including the Pharaohs who reigned during them is also included and certainly helps to give the items a proper time frame and place in the overall history of Egypt. The first chapters of the book cover specific areas of interest and vary from a detailed examination of the incredible Step Pyramid of King Djoser through various tombs of officials and court dignitaries to an examination of royal statuary, furniture of the old Kingdom, and the excavations that have taken place at old Kingdom sites. Each of these chapters contain a detailed commentary of the topic under discussion by various world wide experts and each include breathtaking colour and black and white photographs, maps and drawn ilustrations of tomb reliefs and wall paintings. The text in these chapters is clear and concise and easy to follow while still being incredibly informative with much background information included. These chapters really are a great introduction to all facets of cultural and religious life in the Old Kingdom.
The second section of "Egyptian Art In The Age of The Pyramids", deals with each individual artifact that was included in the travelling exhibition. Each item is accompanied by a beautiful colour illustration photographed often against a neutral background for maximum effect and also includes any other available photos that may have been taken when the piece was being excavated or from the site it was found in . Each item also has a detailed description and a background history and includes which dynasty of the Old Kingdom it comes from and who the reigning Pharaoh was at that time. Measurements and the loaning museum are also included to give a very detailed run down on the modern origins of each piece. The marvel of the items as stated is that both well known and quite rare items are included in the volume. We get to see such diversely famous pieces as the blue tile wall decorations from the under ground chambers of the Step Pyramid of Pharaoh Djoser, and the majestic twin statue of Pharaoh Menkaure and his Queen, through to the extremely rare Silver and Turquoise inlaid braclets belonging to Queen Hetep-Heres, the mother of Pharaoh Cheops, and the extremely touching statue of Queen Ankh-Nes-Meryre nursing her young son, the boy Pharaoh Pepi II. Less well known pieces such as vivid wall paintings from some of the nobles tombs, wooden statues of farmers and alabaster vases in the shape of monkeys from unknown sources really bring to life the everyday existence of both the priviledged and the general population during the six dynasties of the Old Kingdom.
As an amateur Egyptologist I would dearly have loved to see this original exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art however having missed that this splendid book is a perfect way to enjoy the wonderful artifacts that were included and to learn in a detailed but user friendly way much about Egypt during the Old Kingdom. "Egyptian Art In The Age Of The Pyramids", is one of the most tresured books in my personal library and I highly recommend it to all readers interested in ancient history and in early Egypt in particular. This volume itself is a true treasure just like all the precious items it so lovingly features in its pages. Enjoy!
This book is a gorgeous and lavish catalogue of selected, exquisite, and little-known works of Egyptian art dating from the Old-Kingdom. I truly love it, and I recommend it to anyone interested in ancient art. I particularly loved the special devotion to fragments of statues and small works of art not usually seen, but as beautiful if not more pronounced than the usual art seen in other books. An masterpiece of art in itself.