5 April 2018

Lunchtime talk: The Temple of Dendera, Upper Egypt

Join curators Jenny Gaschke and Sue Giles for a look at the magnificent painting The Temple of Dendera, Upper Egypt from two perspectives – Fine Art and Egyptology.

In this painting, the dark entrance to the Temple of Hathor at Dendera seems to stretch endlessly into the half-buried and elaborately decorated façade of the colossal building. The figures in the right foreground heighten the scale of the architecture. Dramatic lighting increases further the effects of sublime grandeur.

See the painting in our collections online.

David Roberts’ visit to the Near East in 1838-9 was of crucial importance to his career. He was already acclaimed as a painter of European topographical and architectural views but he needed new subject matter and was one of the first British artists to visit Egypt.

The sketches he made there and in the Holy Land gave him enough subjects for the rest of his life. At Dendera he noted the temple’s good state of preservation in his diary. However, the faces on the columns of the portico had eroded and he embellished them in this painting for greater dramatic impact.

Designed to fit around your lunch hour, our lunchtime talks explore a selection of treasures from our exhibitions and collections.