WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Clark Art Institute’s Research and Academic Program hosts a talk by Research and Academic Program Fellow Kathryn Howley, who argues that the bodily preoccupation of ancient Egyptian art is one reason why it has proven unusually appealing to modern audiences, ever since the beginnings of modern Egyptology in Napoleon’s expedition to Egypt in 1798.
The event will be held on April 4 at 5:30 p.m.
By analyzing the original sketches made by members of Napoleon’s expedition, as well as the resulting engravings published in the monumental book “Description de l’Égypte” (1809–1820), this lecture demonstrates that although scholars were drawn to the proliferation of bodies in Egyptian art, they distorted unfamiliar Egyptian proportions into something akin to the Greco-Roman ideal, which were acceptable to European eyes.
Kathryn Howley is the Lila Acheson Wallace Assistant Professor of Ancient Egyptian Art and Archaeology at the Institute of Fine Arts of New York University. She is particularly interested in the material culture of intercultural interaction and identity, which she explores through her fieldwork project at the Amun Temple of King Taharqo at Sanam in Sudan. At the Clark, she is working on a book manuscript that argues that the proliferation of bodies in ancient Egyptian imagery is central to how the proliferation has functioned upon its audience, both ancient and modern; the manuscript also explores the ways in which modern body politics have influenced the understanding of ancient Egyptian art.
This event is free; no registration is required. For more information, visit clarkart.edu/events.
The next Research and Academic Program lecture is presented by Joshua I. Cohen (City College of New York and CUNY Graduate Center), who examines African modernisms in the Francophone contexts of decolonization and the global Cold War. The event takes place on April 14 at 5:30 p.m.