‘Ramses the Great and the Gold of the Pharaohs’ exhibit brings history to life at de Young’s Museum – Richmond Review/Sunset Beacon
By Michel Durand
Around 1,000 years before the birth of Jesus, when most of California’s ancient redwoods weren’t even seeds yet, Egyptian artists were creating stunning masterpieces to honor pharaohs who were considered living gods. . Now these world treasures have landed for a visit to San Francisco.
The Museums of Fine Arts of San Francisco presents the exclusive West Coast presentation of the international traveling exhibition “Ramses the Great and the Gold of the Pharaohs”. Billed as a “once-in-a-lifetime installation,” it is now on display at the de Young Museum. The exhibition will continue until February 2023.
The presentation explores the life and achievements of one of the most notable and famous rulers in world history, Ramses II, known today as Ramses the Great. More than 180 objects – many of which were recently discovered and have never left Egypt before – feature exquisite carvings and valuable treasures. There is also a cutting-edge multimedia production that demonstrates the opulence and power of ancient Egyptian civilization.
“’Ramses the Great and the Gold of the Pharaohs’ reveals the power and splendor of ancient Egypt and expands the story conveyed in our own collection of ancient art,” Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of Museums of the Fine Arts of San Francisco was quoted in a press release. “Once the exhibition has completed its international tour, these objects will return to Egyptian museums and probably won’t travel again for decades.”
“Ramses the Great and the Gold of the Pharaohs” focuses on the life of prominent military officer Ramses II, a crown prince who eventually became one of Egypt’s oldest kings during a reign of 67 years old. Known throughout time as Ramses the Great, he was the third pharaoh of the 19th Dynasty and is considered the most powerful and famous pharaoh of the New Kingdom – Egypt’s Golden Age – when it was a rich and powerful empire.
The tomb of Ramses the Great is located in the Valley of the Kings, the final resting place of the New Kingdom pharaohs for over 500 years. This tomb was looted in antiquity. “Ramses the Great and the Gold of the Pharaohs” includes items from royal tombs found elsewhere in Egypt to give an idea of the extraordinary items Ramses’s tomb must have contained.
“Ramses II is considered the greatest king to ever rule Egypt,” says Egypt’s Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Dr Mostafa Waziri. “This exhibit will highlight the pivotal moments that earned the great pharaoh his place in history, while bringing visitors face-to-face with absolutely breathtaking Egyptian artifacts. “Ramses the Great and the Gold of the Pharaohs” is one of the most remarkable exhibits to ever tour the world, and it is a real honor for her to visit the great city of San Francisco and the Museum of Young.”
The first exhibition on Ramses the Great in more than 30 years is the first ever presented in San Francisco. The installation features the largest trove of Ramses the Great-related artwork and treasures to ever leave Egypt. Royal statues, sarcophagi, spectacular masks, magnificent jewelry and ornate tomb treasures reveal the fabulous wealth of the pharaohs, the astonishing skill of ancient Egyptian tomb builders and the superb workmanship of Egyptian artists.
The large installation also includes recently discovered animal mummies – including those of small cats, lion cubs and a mongoose – from the Saqqara necropolis, displayed for the first time, as well as treasures discovered in the royal tombs of Dahshur and Tanis (many who have never traveled to the United States before).
Drone photography, immersive video settings, multimedia productions and photomurals recreate the life and accomplishments of Ramesses, including his monumental construction projects and his triumph at the Battle of Kadesh (considered the greatest chariot battle ever delivered). The exhibit also features a virtual reality (VR) component, “Ramses and Nefertari: Journey to Osiris,” which is installed in the museum’s Piazzoni Murals Room (viewable for an additional fee). The immersive VR experience includes cinematic motion chairs that take visitors on a whirlwind tour of two of Ramses’ most impressive monuments, Abu Simbel and Nefertari’s Tomb.
Learn more at https://deyoung.famsf.org/exhibitions/ramses-great-and-gold-pharaohs.