cover image Discovery of Egypt

Discovery of Egypt

Rizzoli, Fernand Beaucour. Flammarion-Pere Castor, $50 (0pp) ISBN 978-2-08-013506-3

This jewellike album affords an unparalleled glimpse of Egypt as it was experienced by the artists, scientists and scholars who accompanied Napoleon on his expedition of the Nile valley (1798-1801) and by later archeologists and explorers. Bonaparte's invasion, which led to the discovery of the Rosetta stone and the decipherment of its hieroglyphics, helped lay the foundations for Egyptology. The authors discuss the expedition's military exploits, its survey of ancient monuments and its ethnographic fieldwork, amplifying a narrative with diary excerpts, letters and 240 plates (half in color), including nature studies, portraits, shimmering seascapes and landscapes. Oils, watercolors, engravings and drawings--made by members of Napoleon's expedition and their successors--provide rare, unspoiled views of tomb paintings, temple interiors, pyramids, the Sphinx and zodiacs carved on ceilings. The impact of the Egyptian Revival on Europe's visual arts, architecture, music and literature is also examined. Beaucour is president of the Center for Napoleonic Studies in Paris; Laissus, a French historian; Orgogozo, a French curator. (Mar.)