Photo review — Museum of Fine Arts celebrates Ancient Egypt

Egyptian Version of Master of The UniverseThis "Egyptian version of Master of the Universe," according to curator Bianchi, boasts four arms and two sets of wings, and is escorted by several snakes, all representing his supernatural powers.

An Amphora Alabaster vessel from Dynasty XIX 1305-1196 BCThis funerary Amphora from dynasty XIX 1395-1196 BC is carved from a single block of alabaster and is decorated with encaustic (pigments suspended in molten wax).

Sarcophagus once owned by Yves Saint LaurentThis sarcophagus, purchased from the estate of designer Yves Saint Laurent, is one of the largest antiquities in the exhibit. It is thought by Dr. Bianchi to be from around 1000 BC. It has barely legible hieroglyphs that the curator has worked on translating.

The God Horace as FalconThe God Horace as Falcon, Dynasty XXI -XXV 1080-655 BC, represents the ancient Egyptians' belief in royal power and kingship that came from the Falcon, the bird they observed as the highest-flying in their world.

Crowd in the LobbyThe gala was attended by several hundred people who were treated to hors d’oeuvres, wine and beer in the lobby.

Sphinx over doorThere was even a balloon Sphinx to watch over the crowd.

Billie Jo Wilson, Josh Goff and Tanya Rodriguez walk like EgyptiansBillie Jo Wilson, Josh Goff and Tanya Rodriguez walk like Egyptians. These actors added to the ancient feel of the evening.

The opening was well attended The Museum of Fine Arts in St Petersburg

The must-see exhibit includes five galleries of antiquities and is paired with a photography exhibition, Forever in a Moment — photographs of Egypt, created during the 19th century, a period of great archaeological exploration and worldwide fascination with ancient culture.
Banner for Forever in a Moment Photography Exhibit

Ancient Egypt — Art and Magic: Treasures from the Fondation Gandur pour l’Art runs through April 19 at the Museum of Fine Arts, 255 Beach Drive N.E., St. Petersburg, 727-896-2667; adults, $17; seniors, 65 and older, $15; military with ID, $15; college students with current ID, $10; ages 7 to 18, $10; children 6 and younger, free. Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon-5 p.m.

Entrance to Museum of Fine Arts Ancient Egypt Exhibit

The Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg held a gala Friday night to celebrate the opening of its newest exhibit, Ancient Egypt — Art and Magic: Treasures from the Fondation Gandur pour l’Art. The members-only event included actors portraying ancient Egyptians. The museum is calling it one of the most extraordinary exhibitions in its history.

Patrons enjoy vases of alabaster from Dynasty XVIII 1554-1305 BCPatrons enjoyed viewing vases of alabaster from Dynasty XVIII 1554-1305 BC. These delicate pieces have a very contemporary look and were most likely used for ritual oils or perfumes.

The exhibit, with guest curator Dr. Robert Bianchi, displays 101 masterpieces from one of the world’s most important private collections of Egyptian antiquities. The collection, once owned by private collector Jean Claude Gandur, is now housed in Geneva. The exhibition represents a small percentage of the more than 800 items in the entire collection.

A fascinating fact: Very few of the objects have been restored, and the pieces are in extraordinary shape, considering some of them date back to 5500 BC and cover 30 dynasties right up to the fall of Egypt in 30 BC.

Dr. Robert  Bianchi , guest curatorDr. Robert Bianchi, guest curator, enthusiastically describes the origins and history of many of the 101 pieces.

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