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The Egyptian Revival: Its Effect on the Fashion and Architecture of the 1920s

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by Hannah Kirschner on 4 December 2012

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Transcript of The Egyptian Revival: Its Effect on the Fashion and Architecture of the 1920s

The Egyptian Revival:
Its Effect on the
Fashion and Architecture
of the 1920s by: Hannah Kirschner "Easily adapted to changes in fashion and style, Egyptomania moulds itself effortlessly to the art of the day and remains relatively unaffected by new archaeological findings or developments in Egyptology - it has a parallel life of its own, nourished by myths, symbols, connotations, and ancestral dreams."
~Jean-Marcel Humbert The Egyptian Revival of the 1920s was a movement within the art, fashion and architecture that was inspired by Egyptian styles "In other words, Egyptomania is more than a simple mania for Egypt: it is not enough to copy Egyptian forms - artists must « re-create » them in the cauldron of their own sensibility and in the context of their times, or must give them an appearance of renewed vitality, a function other than the purpose for which they were originally intended.”
~Jean-Marcel Humbert (General Curator and Inspector at the French Museums Direction) “Our sensations and astonishment are difficult to describe as the better light revealed to us the marvelous collection of treasures: two strange ebony-black effigies of a King, gold-sandaled, bearing staff and mace...with the numerous cartouches bearing the name of TutAnkhAmun on most of the objects before us, there was little doubt that there behind was the grave of that Pharaoh."
~Excerpt from Howard Carter's diary King Tut's tomb contained some of the most detailed and complete examples of ancient Egyptian styles. These artifacts were broadcast around the world and in America it triggered a near obsession with all things Egyptian Beginning in the 1800s, Egyptian architecture was used for public structures such as banks, prisons, courthouses, offices and cemetery mausoleums and entry buildings. In the 20s, movie theaters adopted an Egyptian style “The theater was its own kind of kaleidoscope, a riot of hieroglyphs and cenotaphs, animal-headed gods and winged scarabs, bas-relief sphinx heads and a gilded sun-disk ceiling...Earlier theaters had had Egyptian elements, but this was ancient Egypt given the full, unabashed Hollywood treatment.”
~Bruce Handy (deputy editor of Vanity Fair) Fashion, Textiles and Advertising Architecture close up of Egyptian motif on silk muslin dress “Egyptomania, although long almost completely neglected by scholars, is not a fringe phenomenon in the history of art: the buildings and objects involved are immense in number and tremendously varied, and every day new elements - previously unknown because they were privately owned are being added to the body of works being assembled for study. Some Egyptologists dismiss Egyptomania and its forms as unseemly, almost sacrilegious, forgetting that such adaptations were the spontaneous result of a fascination with Egypt; and while they may have profited from this civilization’s widespread appeal, they also helped spread awareness of it. Egyptian archaeology and even the Egyptologists reaped the benefits of this attention, thus ensuring the widest popularity of their science.” ~Jean-Marcel Humbert Any Questions? “the Egyptian influence in architecture and bobbed hair has reached Hollywood.”
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