Thursday, August 23, 2007

King Tut

As a kid I used to like to draw from my brother’s Dungeons and Dragons book, Deities and Demigods, and my mom’s copy of The Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology. (Which I still have.) One of my favorite images was this carving of Akhenaten seen in Larousse. I suppose it was because the linear forms were easy to draw, but I also remember enjoying the sun-rays-as-hands. So, how cool was it to run into this very piece of stone at the Franklin Institute’s King Tut exhibit? Pretty freakin’ cool, would be the answer. Sorry, Tut, my strongest memory of this show will be of daddy Akhenaten.

It's a great show for those of us too young to have caught Tut in the mid 70s, although the signature golden mask was a notably missing. I have to say, though, as an art experience, this small Harry Burton photography exhibit at the Met struck a deeper cord in me. [Better online gallery here.]

Burton cataloged all the items in the tomb and documented the excavation – often using natural sunlight via a system of mirrors throughout the corridors. The photos are just breathtaking. Equal parts science and art, the artifacts are presented simply and without pretension. There is a clarity and calmness to them that will stay with me for a long, long time. I just happened on this exhibit on my way out of some larger show at the Met....Funny, I can't remember what that other show was.


As an aside – Tony DiTerllizi, of Spiderwick fame, has a couple of very sweet posts were he shows his boyhood drawings from D&D Monster Manual on his MySpace page. Very cute.


Tony Shasteen said...

Wow, Deities and Demigods brings back a LOT of memories! It's good to know there were others like me doing the same thing. I'll have to see if I can dig up some of my old ones. I'm sure they survived... my mother doesn't throw anything away.

David Apatoff said...

I was a student when the first King Tut exhibit came around, and it inspired me to go on an artistic pilgrimage to Egypt a few years later. The ancient culture was so astonishing and the artifacts so complex and beautiful, it dwarfed any fictional world composed by Tolkien or anyone else. I have never gotten over it. (I recommend the overnight train from Cairo to Luxor. Watching the moonlit desert roll by as you go back 5,000 years is a religious experience.)

Irene Gallo said...

David - Weren't you also in the caves in France? You are a lucky man!

David Apatoff said...

You have a great memory, Irene! Yes, crawling through the caves in France and Spain and finding the footprint where a prehistoric artist stood and painted a mastodon 15,000 years ago was another one of those life-altering experiences. There's a lot to see out there, and not much time to see it.

ces said...

I stood in line for 2.5 hours to see the '70s show at the LA Art Museum. That gold mask was something! Undescribable!

I also saw this show when it was in Portland, Oregon, at the Portland Art Museum. It was a beautiful show, but yes, the gold mask was not in it.

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