Egyptian influence in architecture and visual arts

Egyptian influence in architecture and visual arts

Egyptian architecture and the low-perspective, hieratic styles of Egyptian art have undergone several revivals in the Western world. Various obelisks have been carried off as trophies by colonial powers, or bestowed as gifts by Egyptian leaders, and these stand in a number of locations far from Egypt. The "Cleopatra's Needles" that stand in London, Paris, and New York City are examples of these transported obelisks. Egyptian architectural motifs appear in the "Hypnerotomachia Poliphili" [Francesco Colonna, "Hypnerotomachia Poliphili: The Strife of Love in a Dream" (Joscelyn Godwin, translator). (London & New York: Thames & Hudson, 1999 and re-editions)] , and Athanasius Kircher's "Oedipus Aegyptiacus" contains a fanciful attempt to translate Egyptian hieroglyphics.

Egyptian themes became much more widespread, however, after Jean-François Champollion deciphered Egyptian hieroglyphics, enabling Egyptian works to be read. The nineteenth century proved to be a heyday for Egyptianizing themes in art, architecture, and culture; these persisted into the early 20th century, and were revived briefly after the discovery of the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamen. Various mystical and fraternal groups incorporated Egyptian themes. [Joscelyn Godwin, Christian Chanel, and John Patrick Deveney, "The Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor. Historical and Initiatic Documents of an Order of Practical Occultism" (York Beach: Samuel Weiser, 1995)] The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn had an "Isis-Urania" lodge in London, and an Ahathoor lodge in Paris. [Greer, Mary K. Women of the Golden Dawn. (Park Street, 1994) ISBN 0-89281-516-7.] The Shriners incorporated both Islamic and Egyptian themes into their visual imagery, including their characteristic fezzes. The Murat Shrine Temple in Indianapolis, Indiana contains a celebrated Egyptian Room, decorated with hieroglyphic motifs and Egyptian themed murals. [ [ Murat Shrine Temple] history (official site), accessed Aug. 6, 2007] The Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis (AMORC) opened a Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in 1928.


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