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Exploring ancient Egyptian perception of human form

October 8, 1999
Web posted at: 11:43 a.m. EST (1543 GMT)

VideoCNN's Frank Buckley reports on Egytian art from the age of the pyramids.
Windows Media 28K 80K

(CNN) -- The treasures in one of the newest museum exhibits in New York are anything but new. And that's the source of their appeal. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is displaying artifacts of early Egyptian art. Not just another touting of Tut, "Egyptian Art in the Age of the Pyramids" reaches back a thousand years before the famous king's reign.

The exhibit, which the New York Times has dubbed "an early vote for blockbuster of the fall season," focuses on art from about 2650-2150 B.C. Organizers call it "the first major museum presentation of art from Egypt's Old Kingdom."

According to curator Dorthea Arnold, the artists who created the images on display carefully observed the anatomical details and individual traits of humans and animals.

"They were just discovering this," she says of the approach. "You have to imagine that we (were) just coming out of prehistoric times. And this leads to what we can only call the discovery of the human image."

The show, which brings together some 250 works from 30 museums in 10 countries, includes tools used in the construction of the pyramids, facing stone from the Great Pyramid at Giza, sculptures and reliefs.

The exhibit was organized by The Metropolitan in association with the Réunion des musées nationaux, Paris and the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto. Before coming to the Met, it showed at the Grand Palais in Paris, and it's to be seen at the Royal Ontario from February 13 through May 22, 2000.

"Egyptian Art in the Age of the Pyramids" will be on display through January 9, 2000, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Ave., New York City. For museum information, call (212) 535-7710.


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Metropolitan Museum of Art
     Egyptian Art in the Age of the Pyramids
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