A voyage into Egyptian splendour at Pompeii

Statues from Turin Egypt museum and ‘focus’ on Isis temple

19 April, 17:18

    Egitto a Pompei Egitto a Pompei

    NAPLES - Egypt is returning to Pompeii in an evocative new exhibition. From April 20, the "Palestra Grande" (Large Gymnasium) in the archaeological site will open the "Egypt Pompeii" display, which is on its second stop after beginning at the Egyptian Museum of Turin in March.

    For the exhibition, curated by Massimo Osanna and Marco Fabbri with Simon Connor, the recently restored areas of the Large Gymnasium will provide a backdrop for monumental statues of the New Kingdom (16th-11th century BC), the height of splendour of Egyptian civilisation.

    Highlights from Thebes, the principal religious centre of the time, include a magnificent seated statue of the Pharaoh Thutmose I (15th century BC), discovered in the temple of the God Amon in Karnak, and the seven colossal statues portraying Sekhmet (14th century BC), an Egyptian god with a mysterious lion head, who holds powers of both devastation and abundance.

    The imposing granite sculptures - on exceptional loan from the permanent collection of the Egyptian Museum and enhanced by the set-up of Francesco Venezia - serve as an extraordinary testament to the world of Egyptian mythology, aside from representing the power of the pharaoh at the time of the 18th dynasty. Following the traces of Isis and from Egypt to Pompeii, the exhibition proceeds through rooms of the display, showing the so called "Aegyptiaca": artifacts and relics of ancient Egypt used in Campania from the 8th century BC as amulets. A video installation also highlights cultural exchanges, both religious and commercial, undertaken between Pompeii and Egypt from the end of the 2nd century BC. The visit ends with fragments of Pompeii frescoes portraying scenes with pygmies and exotic animals.

    Visitors can also see the "untitled" art work by Nunzio (2015), an initiative fuelled by efforts to link Pompeii with contemporary art. An iconic symbol of modernity and its connection with the ancient, the work, that opens the show, investigates the expressive possibilities of matter and its relationship with light and space. Furthermore, in the archaeological area, an "Egyptian" itinerary helps visitors discover the Temple of Isis, one of the most well-conserved buildings in Pompeii, which has a dedicated app. The route also leads around numerous houses decorated with motifs inspired by Egypt, such as the House of the Pygmies, which will open to the public for the first time following restoration work.

    On June 28, the Archaeological Museum of Naples will open a new section linked to the project which focuses on oriental cults and religions that were brought over from Egypt and became widespread in the Campania region and then also influenced the rest of the Italian peninsula. (ANSAmed).

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