Egyptian Art and Architecture in Context

This exhibition of late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century photographs of Egyptian art and architecture is mounted in conjunction with Deborah Vischak’s course, “The Ancient Egyptian Body,” and the 2010 conference, “The Egyptian Image in Context.” The central theme of both the course and the conference was context. Vischak’s course focused on the context and interconnections of ancient Egyptian sculpture, reliefs, painting, and architecture as they relate to Egyptian society and culture. The premise of the conference was that the essential approach to analyzing ancient Egyptian visual culture is through its context, and the speakers will investigate Egyptian art in a wide variety of contexts. The Egyptians produced objects and built monuments for specific purposes and places, as well as to function in concert with other objects, monuments, and spaces. Examining these materials and their settings together reveals layers of meaning embedded in ancient Egyptian iconography and objects. This exhibition illustrates examples of both three-dimensional contexts, including landscape and architecture, and two-dimensional contexts, for example, wall paintings and reliefs. It also includes images related to a second course taught by Vischak, “The Art and Archaeology of Ancient Egypt.” These vintage photographs not only document Egyptian archaeological sites and monuments created over four millennia, they also depict contemporaneous Egyptians living and working in harmony with their surroundings and the built environment of their ancient past.