Monday, November 03, 2008

Exhibition: The State Museums of Berlin and the Legacy of James Simon

San Francisco Sentinel

An outstanding collection of the treasures of the State Museums of Berlin that honors the contributions of patron James Simon is now at the Legion of Honor until January 18, 2009. THE STATE MUSEUMS OF BERLIN AND THE LEGACY OF JAMES SIMON is a case study of the history of collecting during the late 19th and early 20th centuries and features approximately 140 works from nine separate Berlin museums. . . .

This 18th-Dynasty sculpture was crafted during the reign of Amenhotep III. Standing nine inches, it is composed of Yew wood, silver, gold, lapis lazuli, and faience. It was a major purchase among James Simon’s Egyptian New Kingdom collection. The mother of Akhenaten, Queen Tiye is realistically depicted as middle-aged with furrowed brows. She possesses a regal and careworn look marked with an awareness of the power she wielded.

This limestone head of Nefertiti, Akhenaten’s queen, comes from the same workshop of the Chief Sculptor Tuthmosis and was by the same hand as the famous Bust of Nefertiti. With black paint on its cheeks and face as sculptors’ guides, the head serves as a model for artists producing portraits of the queen. James Simon supported excavations in Amarna from 1911 to 1914. In 1912 large finds were uncovered in the workshop of Tuthmosis.

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