Ancient Egyptian Art At Brooklyn Museum

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The Brooklyn Museum has organized an exhibition of 107 objects from its world-renowned holdings of ancient Egyptian art that will go on a nationwide tour beginning in the summer of 2008 and conclude in the fall of 2011.

The presentation, titled To Live Forever: Egyptian Treasures from the Brooklyn Museum, is slated to travel to more than ten venues.

One of the primary cultural tenets through thousands of years of ancient Egyptian civilization was a belief in the afterlife and the view that death was an enemy that could be vanquished. To Live Forever includes objects that illustrate a range of strategies the ancient Egyptians developed to defeat death. It explores mummification and the rituals performed in the tomb to assist the deceased in defying death, as well as examining what the Egyptians believed they would find in the next world.

The exhibition contrasts how the rich and the poor prepared for the hereafter. The economics of the funeral are examined, including how the poor tried to imitate the costly appearance of the grave goods of the rich in order to ensure a better place in the afterlife. Among the works in To Live Forever will be the vividly painted coffin of a Mayor of Thebes; the mummy and mummy portrait of Demetrios, a wealthy citizen of Hawara; important stone sculpture; protective gold jewelry made for nobility; faience amulets; and granite and clay vessels.

Edward Bleiberg, Curator of Egyptian Art at the Brooklyn Museum, has organized the exhibition. He has authored a catalogue that will accompany the exhibition, which also includes an essay by the scholar Kathlyn M. Cooney; the catalogue is being published by the Brooklyn Museum in association with D. Giles Ltd., London. The recipient of an M.A. and Ph.D. in Egyptology from the University of Toronto, Dr. Bleiberg is the author of several books and scholarly articles, among them the exhibition catalogues Jewish Life in Ancient Egypt and Tree of Paradise, both presented at the Brooklyn Museum.

Among the venues to which the exhibition will tour are the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the John and Mable Ringling Museum, the Columbus Museum of Art, the Chrysler Museum of Art, the Phoenix Art Museum, the Joslyn Art Museum, the Norton Museum of Art, and the Frist Center for Visual Arts, with additional venues to be announced.

The Brooklyn Museum galleries of ancient Egyptian art contain more than 1,200 objects ranging from Predynastic times through the reign of Cleopatra. The collection, noted for its scope, artistic quality, and historical significance, was begun the early twentieth century through Museum excavations and the support of collectors who donated works and entire collections. The collection of Charles Edwin Wilbour, formed in the nineteenth century and donated to the Museum between 1916 and 1947, and an endowment given by the Wilbour family in 1931, further strengthened the Museum’s holdings. -- www.brooklynmuseum.org

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