Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Mansoor Amarna Collection


Above we have a famous and charming Amarna royal couple from the collection of Berlin's Neues Museum. A second look reveals all the charm belongs to the man as she appears to be experiencing rigor mortis. I myself believe the piece to be a clumsy fake .

Here we have the website of the hotly disputed collection of Amarna period sculptures collected by antique dealer M. A. Mansoor. Today some scholars consider the collection to be fake others, however, are comfortable with feeling the sculptures are genuine.

The video is interesting but it is the museum gallery of images that is for me disturbing as I find all of the trial pieces to be too similar and fresh looking yet without soul and lacking any depth of detail. Not to mention the lack of subjects within these vacant heads and how alike they are to pieces both in Cairo's and Berlin's Egyptian museums.

These heads found in the house of sculptor Thutmosis at Tell el Amarna except with faces reminiscent of the hideous colossal figures of Akhenaten from the Gem Pa Aten at Karnak. That would make most of these pieces from an early period of the kings reign while presumably the works found in the Thutmosis house possess a great spirit and are from the later part of Akhenaten's reign?

Picture #1 of a sculpture of Akhenaten has the same face as #24 and #26. Then there are the busts of the Amarna princess' with the faces being crudely worked and details left unfinished on all pieces. This could be explained by the works being found in a lesser sculptors studio at Tell el Amarna. The Nemes headdress on sculpture #1 also appears to be just the wrong shape for my tastes.

In the collection shown only one nose is missing with two more slightly damaged this is unusual for a collection of sculptures from ancient Egypt. Images #37-38 seem to be copied directly from a painted scene of the royal couple pictured above. While #39, the two seated princess' come directly from the famous mural found by Flinders Petrie at Amarna inside the remains of a palace where they would not have been seen until after Mr.Petrie's discovery in modern times.

Though I am not a believer in the authenticity of the art pieces in the M.A. Mansoor Amarna collection. I do feel that Mr. M.A. Mansoor was a well-respected antique dealer who may have held them back because he knew they were fakes?

On the home page is an article about the Amarna princess which the family gave to the Louvre. The museum a number of years ago removed the statuette from display when after a scientific review it was agreed the princess was a fake. This does not please the family and it has been requested to be returned to them, unfortunately even if it is a fake the Louvre is not obliged to display or return the statuette.

This is not new but worth another look at so you can be the judge!

Photo from Neues Museum
The Irrelevant King


LWEAVER said...

Because your narrative today is just about identical to the one you wrote on September 1, 2009 about the Mansoor Amarna Collection, I will repeat my comment dated October 10, 2009: No reputable art historian can ever evaluate an art object without physically examining it. Any commentary based on photographs alone or other's opinions has no merit.

Timothy Reid said...

Thank you very much for both the comments you have left on my site over the years. In relation to this collection I find it to be of interest to myself and hopefully anyone who loves art and art history. As a result I bring back the article from time to time.

To me the purpose of the Mansoor Amarna Collection website is to give the public a chance not only to evaluate the pieces presented, but also to read the documentation that goes along with the collection. My own opinion is not necessarily the correct one. The site presents testimonials from many people whose opinions I admire, yet disagree with in this case.

With respect no one can give anything other than an opinion from a photograph, though it does help when the photographs presented are those of the owner, as is true in this case. You are correct a professional legal evaluation can never be done with simply a photograph.