Two hundred and thirty objects, many of which have never been shown in the United States, form a major international exhibition in the Tisch Galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

The exhibition covers the Middle Kingdom (mid-Dynasty 11–Dynasty 13, around 2030–1650 B.C.). In addition to the Met’s own holdings 37 museums and collections have contributed works to the exhibition. The objects displayed range in size from monumental stone sculptures to delicate examples of jewelry.

221. Colossal Statue of a Pharaoh-72

Exhibits are arranged thematically and chronologically displaying “The astonishing continuity of ancient Egyptian culture, with certain basic principles lasting for thousands of years” said Adela Oppenheim, Curator of Egyptian Art. This “gives the impression of changelessness, but the works of art in the exhibition will show that ancient Egypt constantly evolved, and was remarkably flexible within a consistent framework. New ideas did not simply replace earlier notions; they were added to what had come before, creating a fascinating society of ever-increasing complexity.”

Profound changes in the concept of kingship are demonstrated in the exhibition through a series of royal statues that span several hundred years. Early Middle Kingdom pharaohs are often depicted with youthful faces and confident expressions. In contrast, the evocative, fleshy faces and deep-set, hooded eyes of later kings present startling images of maturity and humanity.

27. Head of a Statue of Amenemhat III-72

Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom is organized by Adela Oppenheim, Curator, and Dorothea Arnold, Curator Emerita, with Dieter Arnold, Curator, and Kei Yamamoto, Research Associate, all of the Department of Egyptian Art. Exhibition design is by Daniel Kershaw, Exhibition Design Manager; graphics are by Mortimer Lebigre, Graphic Designer; and lighting is by Clint Ross Coller and Richard Lichte, Lighting Design Managers, all of the Museum’s Design Department.
A fully illustrated catalogue, suitable for scholars and general readers alike, will be published by the Metropolitan Museum and distributed by Yale University Press. The book will be available in the Museum’s book shops ($75, hardcover). You can pre-order the catalogue here
The catalogue is made possible by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The exhibition is made possible by Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman.

 Additional support is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Diane Carol Brandt, and The Daniel P. Davison Fund.
It is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

Image 1: Relief with Senwosret I Running toward Min (detail), Dynasty 12, reign of Senwosret I (ca. 1961-1917 B.C.). Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, London (UC14786)

Image 2: Colossal Statue of a Pharaoh. Egyptian, Middle Kingdom, Dynasty 12, reign of Amenemhat II ca. 1919–1885 B. C. Granodiorite. Ägyptisches Museum und Papyrussammlung, Staatliche Museen, Berlin

Image 3: Head of a Statue of Amenemhat III Wearing the White Crown. Greywacke. Egyptian, Middle Kingdom, Dynasty 12, reign of Amenemhat III, ca. 1859–1813 B.C. Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen