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