A contemporary take on Ancient Egyptian art

“O people of the earth, men and women born and made of the elements, but with the spirit of the Divine within you, rise from your sleep of ignorance! Be sober and thoughtful. Realize that your home is not on the earth but in the Light. Why have you delivered yourselves unto death, having power to partake of immortality?”

Muata Ashby, Ancient Egyptian Proverbs
1. Plucking and salting of geese. Detail of wall-painting from a private tomb at Thebes. Dynasty XVIII, c.1410 B.C. Kestner Museum, Hanover (cf. Cat. 50).
Two daughters of the King Akhanaton for The Red Robin at Brighton Pavilion Gardens by The Dome
2. Two daughters of the King Akhanaton. Detail of a wall-painting from the palace near Aton temple in Amarna. Dynasty XVIII, c 1350 B.C. Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.
Battlefield Palete Nagada II Egypt
3. Battlefield Palete. Part of a cosmetic pallete. Slate. Nagada II, Late 4th millennium B.C. British Museum, London.

In this article I present a new series of art prints. These prints are architectural prints that depict the Brighton Royal Pavilion and the Dome with the addition of a very specific kind of people. The final designs a very distinctive narrative appears between the buildings and my characters.

I came up with the concept when I realized that inside the Brighton Museum there is a gallery of Ancient Egypt. After further research on this theme I finally found the distinguished and fun ancient Egyptian characters that I thought would fit perfectly with the background of The Brighton Royal Pavilion, the Dome and other places in Brighton.

Art of ancient Egypt

In the spring of 2021 my dear friend William invited my partner and I to spend a weekend in his beautiful home in Hampshire. He has a fantastic collection of art books and after dinner I picked with curiosity a book on ancient Egyptian art. The book was full of images of figures with a strong ancient and graphic appeal that also looked rather contemporary. It was a revelation. For some time I have been trying to find an expression of the human figure in art that was not the occidental style paint we are so used to. This book opened the door to question more and the interest to investigate further. Below I list and illustrate the three art pieces from this book I selected:

Egyptian Museum

The Egyptian Galleries at the Brighton Museum

Brighton Museum has an Ancient Egypt Gallery on the ground floor. The creation of this gallery starts with Francis Llewellyn Griffith (1862-1934), a famous Egyptologist born in Brighton. Many of the items displayed in the Egyptian Gallery were found by him. But ultimately it was thanks to his brother Arthur, a Brighton solicitor and alderman, that Brighton Museum received the pieces. One of the most singular objects in the gallery is a cosmetic palette which still has traces of ground green eye-paint on the surface. Francis discovered it in the early 1900s at Faras, in Nubia, in a burial probably dated between 3500 and 3000 BC.


Brighton Museum Egyptian Art

Brighton Museum & Art Gallery is located within the Royal Pavilion Garden, at the heart of the city’s cultural quarter. Its diverse collections bring together the arts and history to tell stories about the city and the world we live in.

My print from this new series titled ‘Tea for Two at Pavilion Gardens by Brighton Museum’ shows the Main entrance to Brighton Museum with the two boys depicted in the ancient Egyptian wall painting but, instead of plucking and salting a geese, They are having an afternoon tea in Pavilion Gardens.


Brighton Dome

The Dome is a fascinating building. Sometimes these rooftops are open to visit in special events, there you can walk over the theatre trellises to look down with vertigo at the auditorium. And you can also look up and admire the double shell that comprises the cover of the dome as the current Art Deco shell hides the Indo-Saracenic original cupola that has an incredible structure and beautiful glass lanterns from Regency times. George IV conceived Brighton Dome as the stables for the Royal Pavilion. Architect Robert Atkinson (1883-1952) transformed  in Art Deco Style the Concert Hall into the venue we recognise today. He also re-purposed the Corn Exchange and designed the building that would eventually become the Studio Theatre.

My second art print titled ‘A red Robin at Pavilion Gardens by the Brighton Dome’, has the two daughters of the King Akhanaton with the background of the iconic shape of the Brighton Dome.

Brighton West Pier

I have created a third print. This however is in a complete different environment. The final print titled ‘Two Swimmers by the West Pier’ is located at sea by Brighton Beach near the iconic remains of the West Pier. The characters are taken from the ‘Battlefield Palete’ shown above and the inspiration of the fish is from a bronze from the Ptolemaic Period, c.300 B.C. ( Roemer-Pelizaeus Museum, Holdesheim) that you can see below.

Line art. The creation process of the art prints.

Next I show some photographs of my ink drawings that I create to form the base drawing for my art prints. I work with fine pens, brushes, calligraphic pens. These drawings are created as layers that I later scan to add the colour digitally.

Three contemporary art prints with Egyptian art references

Finally, after all my research and artistic efforts , you can see below the prints I have created. These are available to purchase directly. I issue my designs as limited edition art prints. Printed on art paper with archival ink each one signed and numbered.

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