ANCIENT ART CURATOR OF
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - As the Curator of Ancient Art at the San Francisco Fine Art Museums: the de Young Museum located in Golden Gate Park, and The Museum of the Legion of Honor located in the grounds of Lincoln Park, Renée Dreyfus is the only Curator in the museums who bears the title of George and Judy Marcus Distinguished Curator in Charge, Ancient art, after a generous endowment from the Marcuses.
With the August 20 opening of the exhibition "Ramses The Great and The Gold of Pharaohs" at the de Young Museum, which may be the last Egyptian Exhibition we could see before the Egyptian Museum in Egypt stops lending their gold artifacts to the world's museums, Cultural World Bilingual interviewed Curator Dreyfus, with the purpose to give our readers an idea of what to expect from this exhibition, so magnificent in its contend, that the museum decided to have all the artifacts' labels, Tour guides, videos and information about the exhibition, written and spoken in two languages: English and Spanish.
We start our interview, by asking ANCIENT ART Curator Dreyfus to give our readers her description of ANCIENT ART. "Mi Mission." was her answer. When we ask her why? her response was: "Because that is exactly what I want our visitors to do, to understand Ancient Art."
"As a person, since I was three years old and my parents took me to the Art Museums in New York City, there was always the "ancient world" that interested me. When I got older, I realized that what I wanted to learn was the history of ideas. The history of how we got to where we are today. To do that, I had to learn how life was in ancient times, which is wonderful when you have the writings and you can read the ancient languages. But it is also important to see how the (ancient) people described their lives and their beliefs: How did they believe that the world was like? how did they believe the next world was like? how did they believe that they were living "The good life"? And the answer to this questions , is found in Egyptian Art, because most of what we have from them now come from their tombs, their shrines, their temples and the artifacts showing their beliefs, their gods, the things they wanted to carry with them in their hope for another life in the after world. All the Egyptian traditions are revealed strongly in Egyptian Ancient Art."
For those unfamiliar with Egyptian History, Ramses II, the focus in the exhibition, was a Pharaoh, that was called by many historians Ramses the Great and The Greatest Pharaoh of the 19th Dynasty (r. 1279-1213 BC)
Art Curator Dreyfus describes us his life as follows:
C.W.B. "Very interesting. Was that the reason why Ramses II was so revered in Egypt?
C.W.B. As the soul of this coming exhibition, Curator Dreyfus, what is the message that you want to convey to its visitors?
"The title of this exhibition, is "Ramses the Great and the Gold of the Pharaohs" and the second part of its title: "Gold of the Pharaohs," is because Ramses' tomb in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt, was plundered in ancient times, so, because everything was taken and we have no idea of the great treasures that were there, in the exhibition we are showing some other Royal jewels that were found in other Royal coffins, and that the exhibition also includes a dazzling example of Jewelry (See Neferuptah) some which comes before Ramses, and some which comes after Ramses, from tombs of other Pharaohs who continue his tradition. These will give the public a chance to look at the best Egyptian treasures, and imagine what Ramses tomb may have had."
C.W.B. Are other Egyptian objects, aside from jewelry, in the exhibition?
"And some of these images will also teach visitors to the exhibition, the importance than animals had for the Egyptians, where many of the Egyptian gods had animals as their images." Thoth, for example, was an ibis (Stork-like wading birds), and as you know the ibis has a long beak which looks like a stylus when you write. so, Thoth was their god of knowledge and their god of writing. These are things that the visitors will learn in the exhibition as well."
"The exhibition begins and ends with the story of Ramses II and his accomplishments, which were many and impressive. and shows not only why he was a legend in his own time but why he was a legend after his time."
C.W.B. And to end our interview, Curator Dreyful, I would like to ask you, what will a visitor of this Egyptian exhibition, may expected to learn from it that may be relevant to today's life?
C.W.B. I think that comparing them with the Egyptian all will be different, because the Egyptian vision of the afterlife is very different from the Christian vision of the afterlife.
We will conclude our interview by saying that this Egyptian Exhibition promises to be as spectacular as Tutankhamum, that if you remember, brought egyptomania to S.F. in 2009.
The sale of Tickets for the "Ramses The Great and the Gold of Pharaohs" start today, June 6 and they are available at the de Young website: https://tickets.famsf.org/orders/283/calendar. Ticket prices vary on weekdays and weekends. and we suggest checking the museum health requirements when ordering. The museum will also offer an Immersive virtual reality experience, Ramses & Nefertary: Journey to Osiris.