Talk:Egyptian Revival architecture

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For any editors that are interested[edit]

The best bit of Egyptian Revival Architecture that I know is here: Carreras Cigarrette Factory — Preceding unsigned comment added by Johncandrew (talkcontribs) 10:52, 15 June 2012 (UTC)



Curl (Curl, James Stevens. A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (Paperback) (in English) (Second ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 880. ISBN 0198606788.  Unknown parameter |origdate= ignored (|orig-year= suggested) (help)) Suggests in his section on Egyptian Revival architecture that

"Elements of ancient Egyptian architecture were found in Hellenistic and Roman architecture in antiquity. After Egypt became part of the [missing?], Roman and Egyptian deities (especially the goddess Isis and her consort Osiris, whom the Greeks and Romans called Serapis) were venerated by the Romans the process accelerated: not only were many Egyptian artefacts, including obelisks brought to Rome and re-erected to embellish Roman buildings, but countless objects in the style of egyptian arts were made in europe. Ancient Obelisks were again set up in renaissance rome, where they can be seen in several locations today, and huge numbers of egyptian and egyptianizing artefacts re-emerged to grace the collects in the vatican and elsewhere. During the latter half of the C18, egyptian motifs began to intrigue designers in the west. Piranesi designed an egyptian interior for the caffe degl'Inglesi, Piazza di Spagna, Rome (c1768) which he published together with a number of fireplaces in an egyptian style, in Diverse Maniere d'adornare i Cammini (different ways of decorating chimneypieces, 1769). This work included illustrations of the Roman telamones and figure of Antinous from the villa Adriana, Tivoli (all C2), bogus hieroglyphs, Apis bulls, various Nilotic motifs and also corbelled pseudo arches-arches of stepped form which passed into western artistic consciousness as 'Egyptian'. At the time, many architects, influenced by French theorists such as Laugier, began to discard architectural ornament deemed to be inessential, and, prompted by a growing admiration for the primitive, explored the possibilities of simple, basic geometries that would bring clarity, severity and integrity to their compositions. Ancient egyptian forms such as battered rectilinear buildings, obelisks and pyramids, were combined with cubes, spheres etc. in the developing language of Neo-classicism. C18 archaeological activity that encourageda scholarly and accurate approach to antiquity, especially the study of buildings in Rome, pompeii, herculaneum, greece, sicily and paestrum, encouraged by Winckelmann among others, also turned to egypt. The napoleonic investigations of egyptian architecture, published from 1802 by Denon and the Commission des Sciences et Arts d'Egypte from 1809 to 1829, did for Egyptian architecture what Stuart and revett had done for Greek."

- and we're half way through.

Does anyone have any information that might contradict this or opinions on whether or not I should rewrite it and post it into the article? Many thanks, --Mcginnly | Natter 01:07, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

On a tongue in cheek note - can we add the Las Vegas hotel and casino featuring the sphinx and the pyramids as a post-modern variant? --Mcginnly | Natter 01:15, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

I believe Egyptian Revival normally refers to a 19th-century and early 20th-century historicist style, but I don't object to adding an overview of Egyptian influence on Western architecture throughout the ages. Let's see what Wetman thinks. --Ghirla -трёп- 17:51, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

Nice to see Curl again. His Celebration of Death is classic for those of us who - but i digress. The part about bringing Egyptian artifacts to Rome seems at best marginally related to the ERevival movement unless [and this is a possibility] it can be shown that these remains influenced later designers. Certainly the explosion in "archaeological activity" in the 18 and 19 C needs to be addressed. I'm working on some ER pictures from America that should be ready soon. Carptrash 18:51, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
  • I take your point - but think a) Curl has written all of this under the Egyptian Revival entry so it's citable and notable and b)showing a continuing european fascination with the egyptian that extends into antiquity has some value in framing later developments.--Mcginnly | Natter 21:34, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
There is no doubt in my mind that i'll support anything you wish to add to the article. I can even toss in some pictures of Egyptiqan oblisques [ ?????? - you know - those pointy things] from Rome if it goes that way. To me, though, that is not Revival stuff, it's the real thing. Carptrash 23:06, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
Making a good point, that the re-use of Egyptian antiquities is not "Egyptian Revival" until they are set into an Egyptianizing context. Sir John Soane collected some Egyptian antiquities but didn't display them in a neo-Egyptian setting. The earliest set-up I can recall is Thomas Hope's "Egyptian Hall" in his house-cum-public museum in Piccadilly, which he illustrated in Household Decoration (1807). I'm reminded from the other lobe of the brain that New York City had an Egyptian-themed monumental rectangular reservoir in what is now Bryant Park and that Thomas Martin moved from his Babylonian themes to depict the The Seventh Plague of Egypt in 1823 [1]. I'm unaware of an archaeologically-based Egyptianizing recreated setting for a European painting earlier than this one. --Wetman 23:08, 28 September 2006 (UTC)


Curl, in his A Celebration of Death adds this on the topic. An interest in Egyptian motifs was not unrelated [ahh - you brits, just can't stay away from those double negatives] to the spread of Freemasonry - which gives me an entirely other direction to go off in for a bit. Carptrash 23:34, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

Roman Egyptian Revival in the last years of pre-Christian era may have been triggered by Octavian's conquest of Ptolemaic Egypt.
I'm all for nesting Egyptian Revival architecture within Egyptomania within Egypt in the European Imagination, representing increasingly broader phenomena. Curl should have offered a more nuanced view of the syncretic Serapis, and on the other hand he'd be hard put to find those countless Egyptianizing objects, save votive sculptures for the soldiers' goddess Isis, and figures of the syncretic Harpocrates, whom he doesn't mention: these are always specifically cultic. The Pyramid of Cestus is the one Egyptianizing Roman monument: its cultural setting (obscure to me) need to be briefly examined with an external link. The cult of porphyry purely as an exotic material resulted in porphyry sarcophagi also being looted from Egypt and reused out of context, in Constantinople as in Rome, quite outside any specifically "Egyptianizing" theme: the re-erected obelisks are essentially imperial culture-trophies, with a very muted solar connotation, if any. (Am I right about this?) The so-called "Canopus" at Hadrian's Villa is a good example of the recreated topoi in Roman villa gardening, rather than specific Egyptianizing: Hadrian had personal reasons for the Canopus, where Antinous drowned, and elsewhere at the villa he recreated the Vale of Tempe, part of the "virtual reality" travel memoirs he carried out at the villa. Very few pre-Piranesi Egyptian-themed European arts can be assembled, outside strictly antiquarian pursuits, like Athanasius Kirchner's zany musings, powdered "mummy" of doctors and quacks, and Hermetica, which have their own, quite autonomous career. Bernini's pyramid theme in funerary monuments (there's a link at Gian Lorenzo Bernini) is as much drawn from the monument of Cestus, right there in Rome. Opera is always the guidepost to intellectual fashion: where does the first non-Biblical Egyptian setting occur? The themes of Moses in Egypt, Flight into Egypt, Anthony and Cleopatra aside, does an Egyptian setting precede or reflect Masonic Egypterie? The Magic Flute's Egyptianizing is Masonic after all. Two Egyptianizing pieces of furniture are at the Metropolitan Museum: a side table inm faux porphyry with Egyptian busts heading the tapering legs, and Biennais' silver-inlaid jewel cabinet for Josephine, in the form of a mahogany pylon.
The three articles do need to acknowledge one another's individual focus, with Main article...-type subsections to concise summaries of each other's content. The one article is a triplet. --Wetman 00:45, 26 September 2006 (UTC)
Just an idea - If we were to rename Egypt in the European imagination as Egypt in the Western imagination - would there be a case for merging it with Egyptomania?
I'd be interested in peoples opinions of Curl - he was entirely unknown to me until I bought his dictionary a few months ago (and has never been on any reading lists I've received that I can remember) I don't want to clutter this talk page with comment on this matter, but I'd be interested in anyones comments or criticisms of his scholarship - his entries on many items relating to modern architecture are, shall we say, on the sceptical side (some english understatement for you). I'd assumed this was just a foible of his - am I to assume from the above, that some opinions questions his judgement and scholarship in relation to architectural history? Please reply on my talk page. Many thanks. --Mcginnly | Natter 23:39, 26 September 2006 (UTC)
I wasn't criticizing James Stevens Curl (needs an article!), just expanding a little on his remarks on this heading. Good Piranesi! --Wetman 06:03, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

There's a single stunning (or gaudy) example of Egyptian-motif Jugentstil in central Tallinn. I believe that I have a photo of it but unfortunately my lens would have been a mere 25mm rather than the requisite 15mm; also I know nothing about the building other than what I see. -- Hoary 01:06, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

Yeah, so...[edit]

Why the heck isn't the Washington Monument discussed or even mentioned in this article? It's a friggin' obelisk! JamesMcCloud129 11:50, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

So, do it. Carptrash 14:19, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

Decoragtive arts[edit]

There really should be a parallel page devoted to the Egyptian revival in Decorative arts. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Egyptomania (talkcontribs) 22:58, 28 September 2008 (UTC)