As part of the Egyptian Gallery’s reinstallation, the Virginia Musem of Fine Arts’ 4000-year-old mummy, Tjeby, “the Count and Sealbearer to the King,” is back on view.
“The Egyptian Gallery fascinates visitors and they are now able to gain a deeper understanding of mummies, both human and animal, as well as other ancient Egyptian objects,” Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Director Alex Nyerges said. “Enjoyment of these permanent collections will also offer visitors an experience to complement the upcoming Mummy: Secrets of the Tomb exhibition in November.”
The Classical Galleries, which include Greek, Roman and Etruscan art were installed in December 2010. The newly installed Egyptian gallery emphasizes themes that encourage visitors to engage with the art and explore ancient cultures as well as their own culture. Objects range from the pre-Dynastic period – 3800 BCE through the Roman period. Notable items include VMFA’s 3rd century Faiyum portrait of a woman, a papyrus scroll from the 3rd Intermediate Period, and a Late Period faience statuette of the protector-god Bes. A monumental statue portraying the Kushite king Senkamanisken as an Egyptian pharaoh greets visitors as they enter the gallery.
In addition to Tjeby, an assortment of mummified animals is on view, including an ibis and a falcon. In order for visitors to choose whether they want to encounter the mummies, a corner of the gallery is dedicated to them.
VMFA’s special fall exhibition, Mummy: Secrets of the Tomb, will be on view November 19, 2011 – March 11, 2012. Drawing on the world-famous Egyptian collections of the British Museum in London, this exhibition explores the secrets of the mummy and the rituals of death. With more than 100 artifacts, including human and animal mummies, gold masks, jewelry, canoptic chests, massive sarcophagi, statuary and tomb lintels, the exhibition immerses the visitor in the life and death of one mummy, Nesperennub, a temple priest. A new accompanying 3-D film presentation – narrated by Sir Ian McKellan – uses the most advanced scanning technology to take the spectator on a journey that unwraps the mummy of Nesperennub in vivid detail and reveals the secrets of life and death in ancient Egypt.
About the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
With a collection of art that spans the globe and more than 5,000 years, plus a wide array of special exhibitions, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) is recognized as one of the top comprehensive art museums in the United States. The museum’s permanent collection encompasses more than 23,000 works of art, including the largest public collection of Fabergé outside Russia and one of the nation’s finest collections of American Art, Art Nouveau and Art Deco. VMFA is home to acclaimed collections of English Silver and Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, British Sporting and Modern & Contemporary art, as well as renowned South Asian, Himalayan and African art. In May 2010, VMFA opened its doors to the public after a transformative expansion, the largest in its 75-year history. Programs include educational activities and studio classes for all ages, plus fun after-hours events. VMFA’s Statewide Partnership program includes traveling exhibitions, artist and teacher workshops, and lectures across the Commonwealth. General admission is always free. For additional information, telephone 804-340-1400 or visit www.vmfa.museum.