Exhibitions: Cleopatra's Egypt: Age of the Ptolemies

  • 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

On View: Kneeling Statue of Nesbanebdjedet

Nesbanebdjedet was one of several Libyans contending for rule in Egypt from the end of Dynasty XXII to Dynasty XXIV. He seems to have had an...

Hiroshige's One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Hiroshige's 118 woodblock landscape and genre scenes of mid-nineteenth-century Tokyo, is one of the greatest achievements of Japanese art.

    On View: Cup and Saucer

    The elegant form of this tea set is derived from eighteenth-century Rococo prototypes, but the amazing variety of flora and fauna that encru...

     
    Want to add this object to a set? Please join the Posse, or log in.

    close

    ECA_E1988i015.jpg ECA_E1988i014.jpg ECA_E1988i013.jpg ECA_E1988i012.jpg ECA_E1988i011.jpg ECA_E1988i010.jpg ECA_E1988i009.jpg ECA_E1988i008.jpg ECA_E1988i007.jpg ECA_E1988i006.jpg ECA_E1988i005.jpg ECA_E1988i004.jpg ECA_E1988i003.jpg ECA_E1988i002.jpg ECA_E1988i001.jpg ECA_E1988i110.jpg ECA_E1988i109.jpg ECA_E1988i108.jpg ECA_E1988i107.jpg ECA_E1988i106.jpg ECA_E1988i105.jpg ECA_E1988i104.jpg ECA_E1988i103.jpg ECA_E1988i102.jpg ECA_E1988i101.jpg ECA_E1988i100.jpg ECA_E1988i099.jpg ECA_E1988i098.jpg ECA_E1988i097.jpg ECA_E1988i096.jpg ECA_E1988i095.jpg ECA_E1988i094.jpg ECA_E1988i093.jpg ECA_E1988i092.jpg ECA_E1988i091.jpg ECA_E1988i090.jpg ECA_E1988i089.jpg ECA_E1988i088.jpg ECA_E1988i087.jpg ECA_E1988i086.jpg ECA_E1988i085.jpg ECA_E1988i084.jpg ECA_E1988i083.jpg ECA_E1988i082.jpg ECA_E1988i081.jpg ECA_E1988i080.jpg ECA_E1988i079.jpg ECA_E1988i078.jpg ECA_E1988i077.jpg ECA_E1988i076.jpg ECA_E1988i075.jpg ECA_E1988i074.jpg ECA_E1988i073.jpg ECA_E1988i072.jpg ECA_E1988i071.jpg ECA_E1988i070.jpg ECA_E1988i069.jpg ECA_E1988i068.jpg ECA_E1988i067.jpg ECA_E1988i066.jpg ECA_E1988i065.jpg ECA_E1988i064.jpg ECA_E1988i063.jpg ECA_E1988i062.jpg ECA_E1988i061.jpg ECA_E1988i060.jpg ECA_E1988i059.jpg ECA_E1988i058.jpg ECA_E1988i057.jpg ECA_E1988i056.jpg ECA_E1988i055.jpg ECA_E1988i054.jpg ECA_E1988i053.jpg ECA_E1988i052.jpg ECA_E1988i051.jpg ECA_E1988i050.jpg ECA_E1988i049.jpg ECA_E1988i048.jpg ECA_E1988i047.jpg ECA_E1988i046.jpg ECA_E1988i045.jpg ECA_E1988i044.jpg ECA_E1988i043.jpg ECA_E1988i042.jpg ECA_E1988i041.jpg ECA_E1988i040.jpg ECA_E1988i039.jpg ECA_E1988i038.jpg ECA_E1988i037.jpg ECA_E1988i036.jpg ECA_E1988i035.jpg ECA_E1988i034.jpg ECA_E1988i033.jpg ECA_E1988i032.jpg ECA_E1988i031.jpg ECA_E1988i030.jpg ECA_E1988i029.jpg ECA_E1988i028.jpg ECA_E1988i027.jpg ECA_E1988i026.jpg

    Cleopatra's Egypt: Age of the Ptolemies

    Press Releases ?
    • January 1988: Cleopatra, one of the most famous women in antiquity, will be celebrated at the inaugural event marking the formation of the Museum Council at The Brooklyn Museum on Saturday, February 27, from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. The Council was organized as a new patrons group for younger supporters who wish a more active involvement in the Museum’s collections and programs. Proceeds from the festive benefit evening will be used to support Cleopatra’s Egypt, a major international exhibition organized by The Brooklyn Museum and concentrating on the art from the Ptolemaic Period of Egyptian history, which is scheduled to open in October of 1988.

      Chairman of “The Cleopatra Gala” is Ms. Sky Underwood, who promises that the intensity of the evening’s festivities celebrating the Ptolemies’ ancient and mysterious past will create enough Egyptian heat to melt February’s icy hold on Brooklyn.

      Upon arrival, guests will proceed to the elegant Beaux-Arts Court, which is adjacent to the Museum’s famed collection of Egyptian art. There they will be treated to wine and cocktails, exotic North African hors d’oeuvres and a sumptuous dessert buffet that includes pyramid-shaped cakes covered in edible gold leaf. The Kit McClure Big Band, a sixteen-piece all-women orchestra appropriately attired in Cleopatra costumes, will provide music for dancing until 1 a.m.

      Tickets to “The Cleopatra Gala” are $75 and $125 each. The event is being supported by contributions from Studio Type and Screen, Diamond Art Studios, Brooklyn Brewery and Remember Basil Caterers. To order tickets for the gala, call the Membership Office at (718) 638-5000, ext. 326.

      Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1971 - 1988. 1988, 013. View Original

    • May 1988: Cleopatra’s Egypt: Age of the Ptolemies, the first major exhibition to survey the Ptolemaic Period of Egyptian art (305-30 B.C.), is being organized by The Brooklyn Museum for its premier viewing in New York this October. An international exhibition in both scope and itinerary, it will include the two best-preserved ancient portrait heads of Cleopatra VII as well as heads of Julius Ceasar, Marc Antony, and Augustus -- the Romans with whom she lived, loved, and fought. The panorama of Egyptian art will unfold with an array of masterpieces of stone statuary and relief, gold jewelry, silver vessels, figurines in terracotta and faience, illustrated scenes from the Book of the Dead, and a wealth of objects in glass, bronze, and wood.

      Cleopatra’s Egypt will be shown at The Brooklyn Museum (October 7, 1988 - January 2, 1989); The Detroit Institute of Arts (February 14 - April 30, 1989); and the Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung, Munich (June 8 - September 10, 1989) under the auspices of Staatliche Sammlung Äegyptischer Kunst. The exhibition will comprise approximately 150 works drawn from over 40 public and private collections in the United States and Europe.

      The exhibition has received generous support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, a federal agency, and The J.M. Kaplan Fund, Inc.

      After the death of Alexander the Great (356-323 B.C.) the control of Egypt fell to one of his generals, Ptolemy. A Macedonian Greek by birth, he defeated all rivals and declared himself pharaoh of Egypt in 305 B.C., thereby inaugurating the Ptolemaic Dynasty. His decendants, twelve kings named Ptolemy and a number of queens variously named Arisinoe, Berenike, and Cleopatra, ruled the land for almost 300 years until the death, perhaps from the bite of an asp, of the most famous queen of the period, Cleopatra VII.

      The exhibition and accompanying catalogue will focus attention on this exciting era of Egypt’s history, and demonstrate that Egyptian art during this period was of outstanding quality and inventiveness. Egyptian art emerges as an expression of cultural values which remained steadfast to millennia-old traditions despite the presence of the Ptolemaic Greeks in Alexandria and the advent of Rome’s legions in the first century B.C. The artistic expressions of the Greeks, Egyptians, and Romans, and their respective interaction within the boundaries of Egypt, are fully explored.

      The exhibition counters the popular portrayal of Cleopatra as a sensuous creature of the flesh who lacked political acumen and insight. On the contrary, her personality emerges as that of a skilled and intelligent woman who had a vision -- ultimate domination of the known world (the Mediterranean basin) by Egypt.

      Cleopatra’s Egypt
      is being organized by the Department of Egyptian, Classical, and Ancient Middle Eastern Art. Richard Fazzini, Curator of the Department, is the exhibition’s Director and a contributing author to the catalogue. Robert Steven Bianchi, Associate Curator in the Department, and a leading specialist in Ptolemaic art, is the exhibition’s Curator and the author of the catalogue.

      The scholarly catalogue will contain detailed entries for all the objects as well as introductory essays on the history, art history, society, and religion of Egypt during the period. It also includes essays by Roger S. Bagnall, Professor of Classics and History at Columbia University, Jan Quaegebeur, Professor of Egyptology at the Catholic University of Leuven, and Jean-Claude Goyon, Professor of Egyptology and Director of the Egyptological Institute of the University of Lyon II.

      Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1971 - 1988. 1988, 055-56. View Original 1 . View Original 2

    • September 1988: One of the most important cultural and historical periods in ancient Egyptian history is examined for the first time in a major international traveling exhibition opening at the Brooklyn Museum October 7, 1988. Entitled Cleopatra’s Egypt: Age of the Ptolemies, the exhibition surveys the Ptolemaic period of Egyptian art (305-30 B.C) through 165 works drawn from 40 public and private collections in Europe and the United States. It includes masterpieces of stone statuary and relief, gold jewelry, silver vessels, figurines in terracotta and faience, illustrated scenes from the Book of the Dead, and a wealth of objects in glass, bronze, and wood. The exhibition will remain on view at The Brooklyn Museum through January 2, 1989, before traveling to Detroit and Munich.

      The exhibition was organized by The Brooklyn Museum and has been made possible through the corporate sponsorship of National Westminster Bank USA and with generous support from The J.M. Kaplan Fund, Edward H. Merrin, the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities, the New York State Council on the Arts, and Museum Council of The Brooklyn Museum. In addition, the exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

      After the death of Alexander the Great (323 B.C.) the control of Egypt fell to one of his generals, Ptolemy. A Macedonian Greek by birth, he defeated all rivals and declared himself pharaoh of Egypt in 305 B.C., thereby inaugurating the Ptolemiac dynasty. His descendants, twelve kings named Ptolemy and a number of queens variously named Arisinoe, Berenike, and Cleopatra, ruled the land for almost 300 years until the death, perhaps from the bite of an asp, of the most famous queen of t.he period, Cleopatra VII.

      The members of the Ptolemaic dynasty guided the fortunes of Egypt from their capital city of Alexandria, located on the Mediterranean coast northwest of modern Cairo. There they created works of art in typical Hellenistic Greek styles. The native Egyptians, on the other hand, continued to create art for their officials and priests that remained loyal to their age-old traditions. Whenever the two artistic traditions collided, the Greeks were invariably the borrowers, adapting stylistic features from traditional Egyptian forms and often appropriating as their own such characteristically Egyptian media as faience.

      Egyptian art during this period was of outstanding quality and inventiveness despite the presence of the Ptolemaic Greeks in Alexandria and the advent of Rome’s legions in the first century B.C. Its vitality and innovation can best be seen in the numerous temple and tomb reliefs as well as the funerary monuments called stelae that the Egyptian priests commissioned for themselves. Many of these works are without parallel in earlier periods and exceed in quality all the monuments made for the kings. Typical are the painted and gilded stela of Pakhaas and that of the Lady Taimuthis, who died during the reign of Cleopatra the Great. Her
      remarkable stela contains a posthumous address to her husband enjoining him to “eat, drink, and be merry” while he is still alive! A series of heads of highly placed native Egyptian officials are considered among the most arresting images of man ever created in antiquity and include the masterpieces known as the Brooklyn Green Head, the Boston Green Head, and the Berlin Green Head. They are so called because the signs of age have been deftly etched into these portraitlike images which are made of a typically Egyptian green stone known as schist.

      Also noteworthy are a gemlike cameo glass perfume vase that preserves an Egyptianizing scene of a pharaoh and an obelisk; a silver situla, or sacred pail, found at Pompeii, in Italy, that reveals the fascination the Romans had for things Egyptian; inlays of glass used to decorate shrines; and an array of gold jewelry, often bearing serpent designs as allusions to both the Egyptian goddess Isis and rebirth.

      It is thought that Cleopatra VII (the Great) was herself moved by the richness of Egypt’s artistic tradition. She attempted to elevate Egypt to a position of world domination and based her own reign as pharaoh (51-30 B.C.) on those of earlier Egyptian queens. Intelligent and politically astute, she risked all to achieve her goal, and when her armies were defeated by the Romans she preferred suicide to surrender. Her death was a harbinger of the death of pharaonic Egypt’s culture. The exhibition includes the two best-preserved ancient portrait heads of Cleopatra VII as well as heads of Julius Ceasar, Marc Antony, and Augustus -- the Romans with whom she lived, loved, and fought.

      After its showing at The Brooklyn Museum, the exhibition will travel to The Detroit Institute of Arts (February 14 - April 30, 1989) and the Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung, Munich (June 8 - September 10, 1989), under the auspices of Staatliche Sammlung Ägyptischer Kunst, Munich.

      Cleopatra’s Egypt was coordinated by Richard Fazzini, Curator of the Museum’s Department of Egyptian, Classical, and Ancient Middle Eastern Art, the exhibition director, and a contributing author to the exhibition catalogue, and Robert Steven Bianchi, Associate Curator in the Department and a leading specialist in Ptolemaic art, who is the exhibition curator and principal author of the catalogue. Assisting with the exhibition were Donald Spanel and Mary McKercher, Research Associates in the Department.

      The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated scholarly catalogue containing detailed entries for all the objects as well as introductory essays on the history, art history, society, and religion of Egypt during the period by Dr. Bianchi, Roger S. Bagnall, Professor of Classics and History at Columbia University, Jan Quaegebeur, Professor of Egyptology at the Catholic University of Leuven, and Jean-Claude Goyon, Professor of Egyptology and Director of the Egyptological Institute of the University of Lyon II (292 pages; 37 color and 212 black-and-white photographs; $29.50).

      The Museum’s Division of Education has organized a variety of public programs in conjunction with the exhibition. These include gallery talks; a symposium, entitled “Ptolemaic Egypt: Cultures in Conflict,” which will be held on Friday, December 2, and Saturday, December 3; a storytelling program for children on Sunday, October 16 and November 6; and a film series, entitled “The Age of Cleopatra: Hollywood and History” featuring six of Hollywood’s most sensational film spectacles that focus on the great men and women of ancient Egypt on successive Sundays beginning November 13.

      Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1971 - 1988. 1988, 082-85. View Original 1 . View Original 2 . View Original 3 . View Original 4

    • September 1988: In conjunction with The Brooklyn Museum’s international traveling exhibition of Egyptian art, Cleopatra’s Egypt: Age of the Ptolemies (October 7, 1988 - January 2, 1989), the Museum is offering a variety of public programs designed to increase visitors’ enjoyment of this fascinating and timeless subject.

      Six of Hollywood’s most sensational film spectacles on the great men and women of Egypt will be shown at the Museum in a Sunday afternoon film series entitled “Cleopatra’s Egypt: Hollywood and History.” Focusing on the great women and men of ancient Egypt, the series examines Hollywood’s conceptions and misconceptions of history. It begins November 13 and runs through December 18. Highlights of the series include a guest appearance by eminent director Joseph L. Mankiewicz on November 13 and a panel discussion called “Cleopatra on Film: Popular Culture Confronts History” on November 20. Among the participants in the panel discussion will be Donald Albrecht, Curator of Exhibitions, American Museum of the Moving Image; Richard Fazzini, Curator of Egyptian, Classical, and Ancient Middle Eastern Art, The Brooklyn Museum; Paul Huntley, wig designer; and Philip Rosen, Associate Professor and Director of the Screen Studies Program, Clark University. Films are shown in the Lecture Hall on the third floor at 2 p.m. Tickets may be purchased one half hour in advance and are $3.00 for nonmembers, $2.00 for students and seniors, $1.00 for children under 12, and free to Museum members. Museum admission is not included.

      An important international symposium entitled “Ptolemaic Egypt: Cultures in Conflict” will explore the archaeological, historical, political and artistic aspects of the exhibition on December 2 and 3. Noted scholars from the United States and Europe will participate. For registration and fee information call (718) 638-5000, ext. 232.

      Programs of special interest to families visiting the exhibition include a papyrus-making demonstration explaining the history and techniques used to produce this ancient writing paper on Sunday, October 23 at 3 and 4 p.m.; and storytelling hours in the Museum’s Egyptian Galleries on two Sundays, October 16 and November 6 at 3 p.m. For the entire month of October, Arty Facts, The Museum’s Saturday-morning family workshop, will present special activities related to the Cleopatra exhibition.

      Other programs include free gallery talks scheduled every Friday afternoon at 3 p.m. and special group tours of the exhibition, which must be arranged in advance. For more information, visitors may call (718) 638-5000, ext. 232.

      Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1971 - 1988. 1988, 086-87. View Original 1 . View Original 2

    • October 1988: Cleopatra and company come to The Brooklyn Museum in a six-week Hollywood film series dramatizing the life, loves, and legacy of the legendary Egyptian queen. Entitled Cleopatra’s Egypt: Hollywood and History, the series is offered in conjunction with the Museum’s major international exhibition Cleopatra’s Egypt: Age of the Ptolemies (October 7, 1988 - January 2, 1989) and will be presented on Sunday afternoons at 2 p.m. beginning November 13 and running through December 18 in the third floor Lecture Hall.

      Leading off the series on November 13 will be Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s highly acclaimed 1953 version of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, starring MarIon Brando and James Mason. Mr. Mankiewicz, an Academy-award winning director, will be on hand to answer questions following the screening.

      On November 20, Cecil B. DeMille’s lavish 1934 production Cleopatra, starring Claudette Colbert, will be shown. It will be followed by a panel discussion “Cleopatra on Film: Popular Culture Confronts History.” The panelists will be Donald Albrecht, Curator of Exhibitions, the American Museum of the Moving Image; Richard Fazzini, Curator of Egyptian, Classical and Ancient Middle Eastern Art, The Brooklyn Museum; Paul Huntley, wig designer; and Philip Rosen, Associate Professor and Director of the Screen Studies Program, Clark University.

      Other films include the November 27 screening of Alexander the Great, starring Richard Burton as the dynamic, young world conqueror.

      On December 4, Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s 1963 production Cleopatra will be shown, featuring Elizabeth Taylor, along with co-stars Richard Burton and Rex Harrison. Serpent of the Nile, a high-camp version of the Cleopatra story, starring Rhonda Fleming and Raymond Burr will be shown on December 11. The series concludes on December 18 with Vivien Leigh and Claude Rains in Gabriel Pascal’s 1945 film version of the George Bernard Shaw play Caesar and Cleopatra.

      Admission is $3.00 for non-members, $2.00 for students and senior citizens, $1.00 for children under 12, and free to members. Museum admission is not included (suggested contribution: $3.00; students with valid I.D. $1.50; and senior citizens $1.00. Free to members and children under 12 accompanied by an adult). All programs are subject to change without notice.

      The film series is made possible, in part, through the corporate sponsorship of National Westminster Bank, USA, and with generous support from the J.M. Kaplan Fund, Edward H. Merrin, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the Museum Council for The Brooklyn Museum and by support from Film/Video Arts, which is funded by the New York State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

      Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1971 - 1988. 1988, 102-103. View Original 1 . View Original 2

    Press Coverage of this Exhibition ?

    • SEASON PREVIEW; Lessons in perspective, partly in ItalianSeptember 11, 1988 By MICHAEL BRENSON; Michael Brenson is an art critic for The New York Times."LEAD: The 1988-89 art season has a rare urgency. There are shows that we need to see, on contemporary artists we can't stop talking about. And there are shows that provide a historical perspective in an unusually provocative way, by charting one of the most irresistible of all national artistic traditions. The 1988-89 art season has a rare urgency...."
    • Museum Show In Brooklyn Explores Age Of CleopatraOctober 7, 1988 By MICHAEL KIMMELMAN"LEAD: BEGINNING shortly after a bloodless takeover by Alexander the Great and ending with the suicides of Marc Antony and Cleopatra almost three centuries later, the Ptolemaic period constituted the final flowering of ancient Egyptian civilization. Along the Nile, Hellenism prospered beside an indigenous culture whose traditions stretched back more..."
    • ART VIEW; From Brooklyn, A New Spin on EgyptOctober 16, 1988 By John Russell"LEAD: With ''Cleopatra's Egypt,'' a pioneering survey of the art of Ptolemaic Egypt, the Brooklyn Museum has broken new ground of a kind that has a consistent fascination. The title helps, of course. ''The Egypt of the Ptolemies'' would not be a grabber, but Cleopatra is one of the most charismatic women in history. With ''Cleopatra's Egypt,'' a..."
    advanced 106,717 records currently online.

    Separate each tag with a space: painting portrait.

    Or join words together in one tag by using double quotes: "Brooklyn Museum."


    Recently Tagged Exhibitions

    Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /home/www/default/views/opencollection/_tags_list.php on line 15

    Recent Comments

    "Hi Aimee, I think you mean Oreet Ashery? More information can be found in her profile on the Feminist Art Base: http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/eascfa/feminist_art_base/gallery/oreet_ashery.php?i=266"
    By shelley

    "Hi, I am trying to find the name of the artist who took and is in the photograph that follows- http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/opencollection/exhibitions/664/Global_Feminisms_Remix/image/216/Global_Feminisms_Remix._%7C08032007_-_03032008%7C._Installation_view. I believe the artist takes pictures of herself dressed as a man but then exposes her femaleness, as in the photo of her dressed as an Ascetic Jew exposing her breast. Can you help me find her information? Thanks in advance- Aimee Record"
    By Aimee Record

    "For more information on Louis Schanker and the New York Art Scene of the mid 1900's go to http://www.LouisSchanker.info "
    By Lou Siegel

    Join the posse or log in to work with our collections. Your tags, comments and favorites will display with your attribution.


    The Brooklyn Museum Archives maintains a collection of historical press releases. Many of these have been scanned and made available on our Web site. The releases range from brief announcements to extensive articles; images of the original releases have been included for your reference. Please note that all the original typographical elements, including occasional errors, have been retained. Releases may also contain errors as a result of the scanning process. We welcome your feedback about corrections.
    For select exhibitions, we have made available some or all of the informative text panels written by the curator or organizer. Called "didactics," these panels are presented to the public during the exhibition's run, and we reproduce them here for your reference and archival interest. Please note that any illustrations on the original didactics have not been retained, and that the text may contain errors as a result of the scanning process. We welcome your feedback about corrections.
    For select exhibitions, we have made available some or all of the objects from the Brooklyn Museum collection that were in the installation. These objects are listed here for your reference and archival interest, but the list may be incomplete and does not contain objects owned by other institutions or lenders.
    This section utilizes the New York Times API in order to display related materials in New York Times publications.