Exhibitions: To Live Forever: Art and the Afterlife in Ancient Egypt

  • 1st Floor
    Arts of Africa, Steinberg Family Sculpture Garden
  • 2nd Floor
    Arts of Asia and the Islamic World
  • 3rd Floor
    Egyptian Art, European Paintings
  • 4th Floor
    Contemporary Art, Decorative Arts, Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art
  • 5th Floor
    Luce Center for American Art

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    To Live Forever: Art and the Afterlife in Ancient Egypt

    Press Releases ?
    • September 30, 2009: Through more than one hundred objects drawn from the Brooklyn Museum’s world-renowned holdings of ancient Egyptian art, including some of the greatest masterworks of the Egyptian artistic heritage, To Live Forever explores the Egyptians’ beliefs about life and death and the afterlife, the process of mummification, the conduct of a funeral, and the different types of tombs—answering questions at the core of the public’s fascination with ancient Egypt. The exhibition will be on view February 12 through May 2, 2010.

      One of the primary cultural tenets through thousands of years of ancient Egyptian civilization was a belief in the afterlife and the view that death was an enemy that could be vanquished. To Live Forever features objects that illustrate a range of strategies the ancient Egyptians developed to defeat death. It examines mummification and the rituals performed in the tomb to assist the deceased in defying death, and reveals what the Egyptians believed they would find in the next world. In addition, the exhibition contrasts how the rich and the poor prepared for the hereafter. The economics of the funeral are examined, including how the poor tried to imitate the costly appearance of the grave goods of the rich in order to ensure a better place in the afterlife.

      Each section of the exhibition contains funeral equipment for the rich, the middle class, and the poor. The visitor will be able to compare finely painted wood and stone coffins made for the rich with the clay coffins the poor made for themselves, masterfully worked granite vessels with clay vessels painted to imitate granite, and gold jewelry created for the nobles with faience amulets fashioned from a man-made turquoise substitute. Objects on view include the Bird Lady—one of the oldest preserved statues from all Egyptian history and a signature Brooklyn Museum object; a painted limestone relief of Queen Neferu; a gilded, glass, and faience mummy cartonnage of a woman; the elaborately painted shroud of Neferhotep; a gilded mummy mask of a man; and a gold amulet representing the human soul.

      Edward Bleiberg, Curator of Egyptian Art at the Brooklyn Museum, has organized the exhibition. He has authored the accompanying catalogue, which also includes an essay by the scholar Kathlyn M. Cooney; the catalogue is published by the Brooklyn Museum in association with D. Giles Ltd., London. The recipient of an M.A. and Ph.D. in Egyptology from the University of Toronto, Dr. Bleiberg is the author of several books and scholarly articles, among them the exhibition catalogues Jewish Life in Ancient Egypt and Tree of Paradise, both for shows at the Brooklyn Museum.

      The Brooklyn Museum galleries of ancient Egyptian art contain more than 1,200 objects ranging from Predynastic times through the reign of Cleopatra. The collection, noted for its scope, artistic quality, and historical significance, was begun in the early twentieth century through Museum excavations and the support of collectors who donated works and entire collections. The collection of Charles Edwin Wilbour, formed in the nineteenth century and donated to the Museum between 1916 and 1947, and an endowment given by the Wilbour family in 1931, further strengthened the Museum’s holdings.

      To Live Forever is organized by the Brooklyn Museum. Having traveled to four museums as part of a nationwide tour that began in the summer of 2008, the exhibition now comes back for a showing at its home institution. The tour will then resume, continuing through the fall of 2011 and taking the exhibition to an additional five venues.

      To Live Forever: Art and the Afterlife in Ancient Egypt is organized by Edward Bleiberg, Curator of Egyptian Art, Brooklyn Museum.

      The exhibition is supported by the Brooklyn Museum’s Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund. Additional support is provided by Fred and Diana Elghanayan and other generous donors.

      The accompanying catalogue is supported by a Brooklyn Museum publications endowment established by the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

      Brooklyn Museum: February 12–May 2, 2010
      Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa: June 6–September 12, 2010
      San Antonio Museum of Art, Texas: October 15, 2010–January 9, 2011
      Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach: February 12–May 8, 2011
      Nevada Museum of Art, Reno: June 11–September 4, 2011
      Frist Center for Visual Arts, Nashville: October 6–January 7, 2012

      Press Area of Website View Original

    Press Coverage of this Exhibition ?

    • ART REVIEW | 'SOJOURN'; On Being A Woman, From Cradle To GraveFebruary 13, 2010 By KAREN ROSENBERG"The Victorian arts of mourning are alive in Kiki Smith's latest work, as they have been in much of what she has produced since she emerged in the 1980s. Ms. Smith has always operated in close proximity to death; she lost a sister and many friends to AIDS, and has worked as an emergency medical technician. At its best, her art is powerfully..."
    • ART REVIEW | 'TO LIVE FOREVER'; Taking It With You in Ancient EgyptMarch 12, 2010 By KEN JOHNSON"You can't take it with you. Or so you think if you are an enlightened citizen of the modern world. All your earthly possessions and attainments aren't going to do you a bit of good after you've gone. The ancient Egyptians, of course, thought otherwise. They believed that this terrestrial sojourn was only a prologue to the main attraction, the..."
    • Spare TimesMarch 12, 2010 By ANNE MANCUSO"AROUND TOWN Museums and Sites MERCHANT'S HOUSE MUSEUM Wednesday, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., ''St. Patrick's Day Celebration, Circa 1855,'' a backstairs tour of the museum, with a look at the fourth-floor servants' quarters that are not always open, and stories about the Irish immigrants who lived and worked there; with refreshments. Reservations suggested...."
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