Saturday, June 17, 2006

Exhibition: Napoleon on the Nile

A new exhibition at Dahesh Museum of Art in New York, Napoleon on the Nile: Soldiers, Artists and the Rediscovery of Egypt, looks at the most outstanding result of Napoleon's brief conquest of Egypt - the staggering Description de l'Égypte. Accompanying the 55,000 strong military force to Egypt were over 150 engineers, economists, mathematicians, zoologists, botanists, archeologists, translators, journalists, and artists, the so-called savants, whose role was to capture Egypt on paper. This two-page article explains the Description and its history, and talks through some of the exhibits in detail: "The pull between past glories and present realities is palpable. At Edfu, François-Charles Cécile stuck to the facts, showing the temple interior half filled with sand and the Arabs living near its rafters. At Dendera, Edmé Jomard and Gaspard-Antoine Chabrol, both engineers, rendered an elevation of a monumental squared arch as it might have looked in its prime, with a vast Pharaonic army marching through it, straight toward us. As the soldiers pass through the arch and turn left, they become flat and overlapping, as in Egyptian reliefs."
This is one of those exhibitions I would really love to see. See the above 2-page article for the full story - there's a lovely representation of the Ramesseum on the first page. If you need a username and password, type egyptnews into both fields.

The exhibition runs from June 8 – September 3, 2006. The home page for the Dahesh Museum of Art is at:
The exhibition home page on the site is at:
And there's a podcast with Egyptologist Dr Bob Brier talking about the Description at:
(You'll need the Quick Time plug-in)

There's a Wikipedia entry on the Description at:

No comments: