Finally made it to the Getty to see its premier attraction of the last several months, entitled “Beyond the Nile, Egypt and the Classical World.”
I am very glad I did, for it closes September 6th, and now having seen it I recognize to might have missed it for some poor excuse or other, for me would have been unfortunate.
And I ‘m glad I ‘m reviewing the exhibit for public radio, 99.1 KBU and select websites, with several week left before it’s gone. Maybe it’ll prompt others to see it. And this is an exhibit that should not be missed, certainly notfor anyone curious about art and history, and past civilizations. To see the artifacts –the jewelry, the sculptures, the statues, ceramics and mosaics, that were produced thousands of years ago – is breathtaking.
Just to think how, why and where they were crafted, is mind bending. And there they are, many as pristine as produced yesterday, others quite conspicuous beneath a patina of age. It is Getty Museum at it best.
Enthralling also is to think these artifacts were traded and given as gifts by the Egyptians and Greeks, as early as the Seventh Century B.C. as they and others traversed the Mediterranean, and up and down the Nile.
As the dominate civilization in the ancient world, with its mastery of astronomy, mathematics, medicine, and writing, Egypt wielded much influence. That made its arts and crafts coveted, even as its power waned in the wake of the Roman Empire, and why incidentally so much of it was in time found in Italy.
Fascinating as they may be, as displayed in the exhibit, most captivating for me actually was a densely-scripted papyrus manuscript, written mostly in Egyptian.
A handbook of sorts, according to a curator, it addresses a catalogue of revealing topics, such as how to commune with the gods about the future, how to attract, and get rid of, a lover, and how to kill someone. But also noted is how to heal, including blindness and migraines, among other things.
Few people then could read, so the manuscript apparently was not a best seller. But it did survive the ages, and there it is now, on a museum wall in Los Angeles. You have to be impressed.