Friday, February 19, 2010

Exhibition: Ippolito Rosellini

Al Ahram Weekly (Gamal Nkrumah)

Every depiction of an ancient portrait has the capacity to change interpretive history. It is mid-February and the Temple of Edfu looks a shadow of its usual self. Instead of picture-postcard columns, the colossal figures etched on its walls and the spirit of the late summer inundation, the ghostly outlines of high-priests look like they are under the spell of a sorcerer of the ancients.

It is not the dead bodies, decomposing mummies, powerful memories of a lost world that entrance the viewer. It is the very image of Ippolito Rosellini, the father of Italian Egyptology and colleague of Jean- Fran├žois Champollion at work in Upper Egypt that captures the imagination of the visitor to "Ippolito Rosellini and the Dawn of Egyptology" at the Egyptian Museum. It takes some time to come to terms with the imposition imported, or rather on loan, from the Rosellini Archives in the University Library of Pisa, the home town of Italy's "Father of Egyptology".

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