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The Art of Outline: Drawing in Ancient Egypt at the Louvre

Papyri, ostraka, paintings, steles and low reliefs in stone, wooden furniture, and various earthenware, terracotta, and leather items are brought together here in an illustration of the inspired creativity of Egypt's draftsmen.

The Art of Outline: Drawing in Ancient Egypt at the Louvre
Ostrakon figure [Credit: © Musée du Louvre]
Curiously, drawing as it is to be seen in Egyptian art of the pharaonic era has never been given an exhibition all to itself. This is probably due to the problem Egyptologists and art historians have in according the status of artists to these creators of over three thousand years ago: while universally admired, these works can rarely be attributed to a known hand.

With two hundred examples given a fresh perspective that reveals a largely unsuspected reality, The Art of Outline: Drawing in Ancient Egypt calls for a challenge to this approach, not to say the mindset it reflects.

The exhibition opens with a presentation of the "outline scribes", as painter-draftsmen are termed in the Egyptian texts. It continues with works showing the characteristics, rules and variations of Egyptian drawing that gave rise to unique works of art. The third and final section presents the Egyptian world in drawings—or, more exactly, the world and imaginative vision of the draftsmen: the gods, the afterlife, magic, the pharaohs, the Egyptian people, foreigners, the landscape, and animals. There is special emphasis, too, on the satirical and the erotic.

The exhibition runs from April 19 to July 22, 2013, at the Richelieu wing, lower ground floor of the Louvre Museum.

Source: Louvre Museum [April, 2013]

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