Art/ Collection/ Art Object

The Temple at Dendur, Nubia

Artist:
David Roberts (British, Stockbridge, Scotland 1796–1864 London)
Date:
1848
Medium:
Watercolor over graphite with gouache on beige wove paper
Dimensions:
sheet: 7 11/16 x 10 1/2 in. (19.5 x 26.7 cm)
Classification:
Drawings
Credit Line:
Gift of Philippe and Edith de Montebello, 2007
Accession Number:
2007.539
Not on view
Roberts made this watercolor during a second visit to Egypt in 1848, traveling through the upper reaches of the Nile and Nubia. After a first trip in 1838, the artist supervised the publication of lithographs based on his drawings by Louis Haghe, then returned to gather material for a second set. As a group, Robert’s images had a seminal impact upon how Europeans imagined and experienced the landscape and monuments of the region.
This particular subject has much significance to the Museum, since the Temple of Dendur (68.154) is one of its great treasures. The monument was presented to the United States by the government of Egypt in 1965, after being moved from its original site to avoid flooding resulting from the construction of the Aswan High Dam, and eventually re-erected in the Sackler Wing. Roberts’ watercolor is one of the earliest views of the temple by a European artist, and its lithographic reproduction in 1849 ensured that it became iconic. It is not far fetched to claim that Robert’s decision to depict this particular temple, and the wide dissemination of his view through publication, contributed to the temple’s careful preservation a hundred and twenty years later.
Signature: in graphite, at lower right: "David Roberts R.A. 1848"

Inscription: in graphite at lower left: "The Temple at Dandour [sic], Nubia"
Brooke R. Astor (American, 1902–2007); Donor: Philippe and Edith de Montebello
Melinda Tally British Drawings 1760–1925, A Loan Exhibition. May 2–31. Davis & Langdale Company, New York, 1985, cat. no. 43, ill.



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