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"Pharaohs of the Sun: Akhenaten, Nefertiti, Tutankhamen"
1999-11-13 until 2000-02-06
Museum of Fine Art, Boston
USA United States of America
Pharaohs of the Sun: Akhenaten, Nefertiti, Tutankhamen, organized by
the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston where it premieres on November 14,
1999, is one of the most important international presentations of
Egyptian art and culture in recent decades. This exhibition illustrates the
tantalizing and revolutionary epoch known as the Amarna Age (1353 to
1334 B.C.) when the Pharaoh Akhenaten assumed the throne of Egypt
at its peak of imperial glory. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
“reconstructs” the Amarna Age and the vanished city of Amarna through
more than 300 pieces of sculpture, reliefs, ceramics, jewelry, clothing,
tools and furniture— many never before on public display in the United
States. This combination of objects (from more than 35 museums and
private collections around the world) allows visitors to journey into a short,
but culturally prolific moment of world history.
During the reign of Akhenaten, there were radical changes in art, as a
new artistic vocabulary accompanied the King’s new religion. Ageless,
idealized images which had characterized Egyptian art for the previous
1500 years gave way to more tender and less formalistic images of the
human form. These changes, which were unconventional and probably
shocking to some Egyptians at the time, can be seen in such objects as
the Family Stela from the Egyptisches Museum in Berlin, Germany,
which shows the royal family playing with their children, or the sensuous
Torso of Nefertiti from Musee du Louvre, Paris, France. Artists at this time
also redefined the imagery of kingship as can be seen in Relief of
Akhenaten from the National Museums of Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland.
This relief represents a new exaggerated style, featuring an elongated
face, slit like eyes and a pendant chin. Akhenaten left an artistic legacy
which may be seen in splendid images of Tutankhamen—including the
wonderful Head of Tutankhamen from the Metropolitan Museum in New
York—and his successors.
Visitors also experience the city of Amarna itself. Along with exquisite
objects, the exhibition features the latest archaeological information the
site has yielded, including a 20’ long model of the city, reproductions of
wall and floor paintings, and a video-walk through of the ancient city
combining satellite imagery and aerial photography.