Sunday, April 15, 2012

Exhibition: The Dawn of Egyptian Art (Met Museum, NY)

New York Times (Roberta Smith)

Thanks to Brian Alm and Barbara O'Neill for the links to this excellent review of the "The Dawn of Egyptian Art" (Exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum), with a 12 picture slideshow.

In many ways the art of dynastic Egypt brought nature to a standstill, freezing the figure in an elegant, quietly pulsing suspended animation. Especially in its grandest, most monumental expression — the eerie, somnolent statues of the gods and of the pharaohs who were their earthly junior-god emissaries — Egypt offers us the sleekest, longest-running style in the history of art. It is also probably as instantly recognizable and firmly imprinted on human consciousness as any we know.

This style’s consistency is, if you think about it, frightening. It bespeaks an authoritarian power that was consolidated under the first Pharaoh around 3100 B.C., and that, despite political ups and downs, maintained a firm grip on the country’s aesthetic program for nearly three millenniums. The duration of Egyptian art may dull curiosity about how it began, since it is hard imagining a time when it didn’t exist. But of course everything starts somewhere: the high Egyptian style did not spring fully formed from the forehead of Osiris, god of the afterlife.

This is demonstrated by “The Dawn of Egyptian Art,” a sublime, view-shifting exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art dominated foremost by small, startlingly personable sculptures and vessels from around 3900 to 2649 B.C. The show’s around 190 objects include animal sculptures and figures carved in wood, ivory and stone or modeled in clay; ceramic vessels painted with boats and their regal occupants.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

To my opinion the most beautiful art there is....
Yvonne Buskens