Superstar Pharaohs

Superstar Pharaohs is the exhibition presented by the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, in partnership with MUCEM (Marseille), in the year that marks the centenary of the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb by Howard Carter and the bicentenary of the deciphering of hieroglyphs by Jean-François Champollion.

The exhibition catalogue includes an introductory text written by the co-curator Frédéric Mougenot, in which he reveals the reflections that led him to create the exhibition.

The introduction is followed by six essays on different themes, ranging from antiquity to the present day: Fayza Haikal writes about the link between modern day Egyptians and the civilisation of the Pharaohs; Bernard Mathieu focuses on the Egyptians’ knowledge of their history; Michael Chaveau looks at the presence of the Pharaohs in Greco-Roman literature; Simon Connor explores the impact of images and their destruction in constructing the history of the Egyptian monarchy; Jean-Marcel Humbert discusses the phenomenon of Egyptomania; and João Carvalho Dias, co-curator of the exhibition and deputy director of the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, reveals the relationship that Calouste Gulbenkian developed with Howard Carter, which was fundamental in establishing the Egyptian art section of the Gulbenkian collection.

The rest of the publication is, like the exhibition, divided into three sections: the first, Three Thousand Years of History and a Few Memorable Reigns, seeks to outline the profile of the Pharaohs who were regarded, in their time, as worthy of being remembered for posterity. The second section, What Remains of the Pharaohs? History and Legends, looks at the way the memory of some of these figures was recovered, and at the same time transformed, by the literature of Greco-Roman antiquity, giving rise to myths that survived for centuries. The final section, Return of the Pharaohs, reveals how the birth of the discipline of Egyptology led to new scientific knowledge of Ancient Egypt, which also paved the way for the rediscovery of some Pharaohs, who were thus propelled into stardom.

As well as featuring abundant illustrations of the works on display throughout the texts, the publication also includes a section of chronological references related to Ancient Egypt and a list of all the Pharaohs in History.

Technical information

Guillemette Andreu-Lanoë, Frédéric Mougenot, João Carvalho Dias, Michel Chauveau, Simon Connor, Annie Forgeau, Fayza Haikal, Jean-Marcel Humbert, Bernard Mathieu, Vincent Rondot
Portuguese / English
Original title:
Superstar Pharaohs
Updated on 18 april 2023

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