When Alexander the Great seized Egypt on his mission to conquer the Persian Empire in 332 B.C., he was one in a long line of Greeks who were dazzled by Egypt and its ancient culture. The legendary Greek historian Herodotus had remarked in the fifth century B.C., “this country has more marvels and monuments that defy description than any other,” and indeed those “marvels and monuments” had been drawing Greeks to Egypt for centuries—as tourists, traders, diplomats, and soldiers. Despite this cultural contact, the art and architecture of the Egyptian kingdom had retained its distinct style, uninfluenced by its frequent visitors. In fact, Egypt’s unique art forms had persisted for more than 3,000 years!
When Ptolemy, one of Alexander’s generals, came to rule Egypt, he found it wise to adapt to the older culture. He installed himself as “pharaoh,” built a new capital at Alexandria, and united the two major gods of each nation to form a new universal deity, Zeus Amon. The era of Ptolemy’s dynasty is known as the Ptolemaic Period, acknowledging the 300-year Greek rule that began with Alexander the Great and ended with the suicide of Queen Cleopatra in 30 B.C. It was an age of profound curiosity and rich experimentation, as the Greeks, and later the Romans, met an established culture far older than their own and exchanged artistic, social, and religious ideas with the ancient civilization.
This exhibition explores this confluence of cultures through over 75 artworks. Gilded mummy masks, luxury glass, magical amulets, and portraits in stone and precious metals, demonstrate the integration of foreign styles while also paying tribute to the enduring legacy of ancient Egypt’s distinctive visual culture.
Sponsor This exhibition is generously funded by the Jaharis Family Foundation, Inc.
4 hours 24 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago SEPTEMBER 10–Modern and contemporary art critic and historian Hal Foster discusses the work of sculptor Charles Ray.
Lecture free to Illinois residents or with museum admission
(Image courtesy of Hal Foster)
1 day 3 hours ago The Art Institute of Chicago This first-century sculpture is truly one of a kind. A child satyr thrusts his hand through the mouth of a mask in a gesture both mischievous and menacing. Though frequently depicted over the centuries, this is the only extant free-standing sculpture depicting the child satyr with mask known in the world today.
See it in Dionysos Unmasked: Ancient Sculpture and Early Prints http://bit.ly/1NSFxXr
3 days 6 hours ago The Art Institute of Chicago CLOSING TOMORROW—Don’t miss Frances Stark: Intimism, a powerful exploration of life in the digital age and the first comprehensive survey of the artist's video and digital work.
Image: Frances Stark. Structures That Fit My Opening (and other parts considered in relation to their whole), 2006. Courtesy Galerie Buchholz, Berlin/Cologne.