Saturday, January 14, 2012

Exhibtion Review: Ancient Egypt - Art and Magic

Tampa Bay Times (Lennie Bennett)

With photos.

Being an art critic has mandated that I see all art, not just my preferred art, and judge it with an open mind. That mandate has been a gift. It opened my eyes to the value of so much that I otherwise would have ignored, which has been especially true of antiquities. Now I love.

Yes, love.

I find in them essential and universal human connections. The long-gone lives they represent are usually only dimly known, if at all, and even the cultures from which they come hold mysteries despite exhaustive research and study through the ages. But in these objects, their world lives still. We see what mattered to these people and measure their values against our own. Often, the distance between us is not great.

All of which is a long prelude to my hope that you will see "Ancient Egypt — Art and Magic" at the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg. You have time; it continues through April 29. And take your time while there. This is the kind of exhibition that unfolds slowly and subtly, and reading the wall labels really does enrich the experience.

A lovely group of about 100 pieces comes from the much larger collection of Jean Claude Gandur, a European billionaire, and is curated by Egyptologist Robert Steven Bianchi.

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