Through Ancient Eyes

Donald Spanel, Author University of Washington Press $17.5 (0p) ISBN 978-0-295-96692-2
This comprehensive and engaging study of Egyptian portraiture is a companion catalogue to a recent exhibition at the Birmingham (Ala.) Museum of Art. The introductory essay, profusely illustrated with masterpieces of Egyptian art, grapples with the question of whether we can speak of realistically executed portraits in this period, for the ancient Egyptian artists, unlike their contemporary counterparts, left no written records of their intent. To add to the mystery, we have no way of knowing if the portraits resembled those persons to whom they are dedicated. Unlike many catalogue endeavors, this volume's descriptions of individual exhibits evince elegance and continuity. The inclusion of a chronology of the Egyptian kings, and of an extensive bibliography, serves to make this work of interest to both experts and lay admirers of the greatness that was Egypt. Since all artifacts discussed here are from American collections, readers are provided with a surprising view of the diversity and richness of American holdings of Egyptian art. Spanel is a research associate at the Brooklyn Museum. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 04/25/1988
Release date: 05/01/1988
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