The astonishing sculpture, reliefs, paintings, and works of decorative art on view were created in Egypt during the third millennium B.C.E., the period of the Old Kingdom, when the famous pyramids at Giza were built. Youthful vigor, confidence, and joy in life are reflected in the distinctly lifelike images of the pyramid builders, whose sculptors and craftsmen defined once and for all the essence of Egyptian art. This major international loan exhibition displays some 250 works from more than thirty museums in Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, and the United States. Included are portraits of kings and queens, a statue of the architect of the Great Pyramid of Khufu, several portraitlike heads (the so-called reserve heads), delicate relief scenes, elegant luxury vessels, and furniture, together with a great variety of sculptures depicting high officials and their families.
The exhibition is made possible by Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman. Additional support has been provided by the Starr Foundation.
The exhibition was organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Réunion des musées nationaux, Paris; and the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto. An indemnity has been granted by the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.