Sunday, April 19, 2009

Rediscovery of ancient Egypt

Strange as it may seem, ancient Egypt was "rediscovered" in the 19th c. Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) led his Egyptian military expedition in 1798 and brought with him 167 scholars and scientists, resulting in the discovery of the Rosetta Stone and the subsequent publication of the multi-volume Description de l'Égypte. Hieroglyphs were deciphered by French scholar Jean-François Champollion (1790-1832) in 1822. From 1838-1840, Scottish painter David Roberts (1796-1864) toured Egypt and the Holy Land and returned with a great number of sketches that were then made into lithographs (examples above). Roberts is credited with popularizing the country and its history: "Ancient Egypt was certainly not 'discovered' by Roberts....What Roberts achieved, however, was pioneering in its own way; he portrayed a real living country with a majestic past, rather than a mere spooky curiousity lost in the sands of time.He sketched nearly every antiquarian site, including many temples which have since been destroyed." Egyptian motifs were further popularized after the discovery of Tuthankhamun's tomb by Howard Carter (1874-1939) in 1922 when Art Deco became all the rage.

No comments:

Post a Comment

You may add your comments here.