On 14 October, an exhibition of more than 110 magnified copy original photographs captured by Antonio Beato was held in Luxor under the title “Il Fotografo dei Faraoni, Antonio Beato in Egitto”. The exhibition was organised by the Italian Embassy in Cairo, the Cultural Association ‘Bolognamondo’ and the Supreme Council of Luxor. The exhibition runs till 15 February 2010.
The rare photographs date back to the period between (1860 – 1905). They were collected by Bolognamondo from the Archive Department at the Egyptology Library of Milano University and that of the Griffith Institute in Oxford.
During the opening, visitors were given an Arabic version of a catalogue that includes all the Beato works shown in the exhibition.
Through his expert lens Beato not only captured the natural, historical, and architectural beauty of ancient Egypt’s treasures but also excercised his creativity. He immortalised the Upper Egyptian and Nubian monuments through his amazing shots. Beato was the first to photograph the tombs of kings, queens and nobles using the then state-of-the-art techniques.
The unprecedented pictures of the so-called pharaohs’ photographer include a unique shot of Philae Temple during the Nile flood before construction of the Aswan High Dam in 1970.
On another front, the second International Luxor Forum for Photography was launched last Sunday. All in all 10 Egyptians and 15 international artists participated. The forum runs till 22 November.
On 18 October the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (BA) Planetarium Science Center witnessed the official opening of the Planetarium Theatre after a comprehensive upgrade in preparation for hosting the 20th International Planetarium Society (IPS) conference in June 2010. IPS conferences are the largest and most significant events in the world of planetariums. The Planetarium upgrade places it in a position where it fulfils the expectations of visitors from all over the world who will partake in the IPS 2010.
In addition to the classic IMAX projector; the Planetarium now offers digital full-dome shows using the latest Digistar 3 system.
Digistar 3 details the universe impeccably bringing it so close to the public that they feel like flying through space and time. It will take the public on amazing adventurous journeys to explore the universe as seen from the past and today, to discover more about the Solar System. It mainly aims to offer an understanding of our own planet, Earth, with all its wonders. Digistar 3 can even venture inside the human body to reveal some of the endless daily miracles that take humans from one day to the next.
A French delegation has handed officials at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (BA) a gift collection of 100 books in various fields of knowledge. The French National Library has promised the BA another gift collection which comprises several hundred books about Egypt that were published in France during the past six years.
Conserving Tut’s tomb
The Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) and the J. Paul Getty Trust announced a new partnership for the conservation and management of the tomb of Tutankhamen, a five-year collaborative effort between the SCA and the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI).
The tomb, which was discovered intact by Howard Carter in 1922, is among the most heavily visited sites in the Theban necropolis and the large number of visitors may be contributing to the tomb’s physical deterioration. The Tutankhamen project will undertake detailed planning for the conservation and management of the tomb and its wall paintings, with the SCA and the GCI working jointly to design and implement the plan.
Of the tomb’s four rooms, only the walls of the burial chamber are decorated. The wall paintings in this chamber, as well as some of the tomb’s other surfaces, are marred by disfiguring brown spots, which were noted by Carter’s excavation team. The nature and origin of the spots have never been fully ascertained, and they are among the technical conservation challenges presented by the tomb.
The Conservation and Management of Tomb of Tutankhamen is the SCA’s most recent partnership with the GCI. In the late 1980s, the SCA worked with GCI staff and an international team on the conservation of wall paintings in the tomb of Queen Nefertari, wife of Ramses II. Other SCA work with the GCI has included the development of oxygen-free display and storage cases for the Egyptian Museum’s Royal Mummies collection, and an environmental monitoring study of the Great Sphinx at the Giza Plateau outside Cairo. Currently, the SCA is collaborating with the GCI on the development and implementation of a conservation and management plan for the Valley of the Queens.
A workshop on the “Authentication of Artefacts and their Protection against Forgery and Illicit Trade” was held at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina on 4-5 November, organised by the Centre for Documentation of Cultural and Natural Heritage (CULTNAT) affiliated to the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (BA). The workshop focused on issues of authentication and control of illicit trade and non-destructive analysis of artefacts in general. It presented the outcome of the EU project AUTHENTICO which proposes a multidisciplinary research to confront the forgery of original works of art and fraudulent dealing of counterfeits. It provides a cost-effective science, technology and culture based strategy for the authentication of movable cultural patrimony, in particular of metal artefacts (precious and non-precious). The AUTHENTICO project held its final meeting at the BA last weekend, and provided an opportunity to exchange the latest research and case studies in the field. The meeting was attended by the project partners and experts and came after the 30 months duration of the project. Participating were 10 partners from eight countries—Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Poland, Tajikistan, the United Kingdom, and Egypt.
AUTHENTICO was in the first place established to combat the forgery of original works of art and fraudulent dealing of counterfeits, a problem ever since ancient times, a global challenge at level with trafficking of weapons, drugs, human beings.