Émile Prisse d’Avennes: Egyptian Art

(2 customer reviews)

Product details

  • Hardcover: 424 pages
  • Publisher: TASCHEN (November 26, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3836516470
  • ISBN-13: 978-3836516471
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 2.8 x 19.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 pounds

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Symmetry and opulence: Exploring the Valley of the Kings

A lifelong devotee of ancient Egyptian and Oriental culture, the French author, artist, and scholar Achille-Constant-Théodore-Émile Prisse d’Avennes (1807–1879) is famed as one of the most influential Egyptologists, long before the discipline was even properly established.

Prisse first embarked on his explorations in 1836, documenting sites throughout the Nile Valley, often under his Egyptian pseudonym, Edris Effendi. Prisse’s first publication of notes, drawings and squeezes (a kind of frottage) came in the form of Les Monuments égyptiens, a modest collection of 51 plates, but one met with considerable acclaim in both popular and intellectual circles.

Encouraged by his success, Prisse returned to Egypt in the late 1850s to expand his work. His subsequent, vast oeuvres, L’Histoire de l’art égyptien and L’Art arabe, offer a truly complete survey of Egyptian art. The albums cover architecture, drawing, sculpture, painting and industrial or minor arts, with sections, plans, architectural details and surface decoration all documented with utmost sensitivity and accuracy. Even when compared to the products of the great state-sponsored expeditions to Egypt of this period, Prisse’s compendium remains the largest, singlehanded illustrated record of Egyptian art in existence.

This publication brings together for the first time the complete collection of Prisse’s unsurpassed illustrations in a visual and archaeological feast of symmetry and complexity, mystery and opulence.

Text in English, French, and German


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  1. Tome Raider

    It would probably take a year to examine this book in a manner which would do it justice. I just spent a Saturday morning flipping through the pages while listening to some psychedelic music (Summoning) and I’m now caught in a time warp. This book portrays a lost, elaborate world. The beauty and sophistication of the history is overwhelming, and the artistic rendering here is breath-taking. True, probably only an archeologist or an Egyptian historian can fully appreciate what’s in this massive tome, but this is worth having for anyone who just admires exquisite imagery and fabulous book-making. Yet again, the Taschens are to be commended. This book will be highly sought-after for the next century–I can see it behind the glass at Moe’s Book Store in Berkeley; it will be a valuable collectable and they won’t let go of it cheap.

    Tome Raider

  2. George B. Johnson

    An amazing full size and full color re-publication of one of most important of early books of Egyptian art and archaeology, documenting many images and monuments now damaged or lost.

    George B. Johnson