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Kirk Ambrose

(b Moscow, May 7, 1903; d Paris, Jan 25, 1988).

Lithuanian art historian, scholar of folklore and Egyptology, and diplomat of Russian birth. Son of the celebrated Lithuanian Symbolist poet of the same name, Jurgis Baltrušaitis II studied under Henri(-Joseph) Focillon at the Sorbonne and earned the PhD in 1931. The concerns of his mentor are evident in La stylistique ornementale dans la sculpture romane (1931), which reprises and extends arguments for the ‘law of the frame’ in Romanesque sculpture. Accordingly, the shapes of architectural members, such as capitals and tympana, determined the articulation of sculptural forms. This theory could account for the genesis of a wide array of monumental carvings, from foliate capitals to narrative reliefs, but ultimately it had a rather limited impact on the field of Romanesque sculptural studies. In a scathing critique, Schapiro argued that Baltrušaitis’s book—and by implication Focillon’s methods—robbed Romanesque sculptors of agency and neglected the religious and expressive meanings of this art form....

Article

Barry Bergdoll

(b Cologne, June 15, 1790; d Paris, Dec 31, 1853).

French architect, writer and archaeologist of German birth. In 1810 he left Cologne with his lifelong friend J. I. Hittorff for Paris, enrolling at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1811 under the tutelage of the ardent Neo-classicists Louis-Hippolyte Lebas and François Debret. But from the beginning Gau was exposed to a wider field of historical sources, first as assistant site architect under Debret on the restoration of the abbey church of Saint-Denis (1813–15) and then from 1815 in Nazarene circles in Rome, where he met the archaeologist and philologist Barthold Nieburh (1776–1831), who arranged a scholarship for him from the Prussian government and a trip through the eastern Mediterranean. In Egypt Gau undertook an arduous trip down the Nile to visit and record the monuments of Nubia, which he published as the lavish folio Antiquités de la Nubie. He noted assiduously every trace of colour on the remains, just as he was to do in ...

Article

[Mariette Pasha]

(b Boulogne, Feb 11, 1821; d Cairo, Jan 19, 1881).

French Egyptologist. His interest in Egypt may date from 1837, when a hieroglyphic inscription in the Musée Municipal in Boulogne aroused his curiosity and he began to learn to read hieroglyphics, using the grammar and dictionary compiled by Jean-François Champollion (1790–1832), who in 1822 had deciphered the Rosetta Stone. Mariette’s first Egyptological task was to order some papers left him by a cousin, Nestor Lhôte (1804–42), a former pupil of Champollion. In 1849 he was offered a junior post at the Musée du Louvre, Paris. He taught himself Coptic and wrote a Bibliographie copte (1849) of texts in the Louvre.

In 1850 Mariette was sent by the Ministry of Public Instruction to acquire ancient manuscripts from Coptic monasteries in Egypt; when admission to the monasteries was delayed, he diverted his resources to excavations at Saqqara. From November 1850 to November 1851 he uncovered the avenue of sphinxes leading to the Serapeum, the burial place of the sacred Apis bulls of Memphis. The tombs yielded rich finds, and in ...

Article

(b Charlton, Kent (now in London), June 3, 1853; d Jerusalem, July 29, 1942).

English archaeologist and writer. He was educated at home by unconventional parents, inheriting from his father (a chemical engineer and inventor) his mathematical ability and manual dexterity and from his mother (the daughter of Matthew Flinders, the explorer and circumnavigator of Australia) his interest in antiquity. As a young man he surveyed and recorded many earthworks and prehistoric monuments in southern England; he made the first accurate survey of Stonehenge and from 1880 to 1882 measured the pyramids of Giza. Once in Egypt, he found his life’s work: to extract from the soil not only inscriptions and objets d’art but all the information about an ancient civilization that could be gleaned from the study of its artefacts. He realized the significance of pottery, hitherto discarded by excavators, as dating evidence and emphasized the importance of recording together all associated finds, such as grave groups. Excavating in the Faiyum in 1887–9...