Thursday, May 3, 2007

Egyptian Revival

So now that the entire month of April has evaporated into a puff of air, I am back to the blog and my continued pursit of artistic inspirations. These days, I am most fascinated by the Egyptian Revival movement. It is brought on by a looming project our art guild is undertaking this spring, where we will be painting tromp l'oeil onto the facade of a locally restored historic theater. This theater's architecture is in Egyptian Revival style, so I thought, "why not carry the facade over to match the architectural integrity?"My next though was, "what the heck is Egyptian Revival?"

...So the quest begins....

Squeezed in between the Art Nouveau and Art Deco movements, Egyptian Revival fared little success as a lasting style, but it had an impact nonetheless. Interestingly enough, this movement experienced three waves of popularity. The first was brought on by Napolean's "domination" of Egypt at the beginning of the 1800's and is seen most often in jewelry and interior furnishings. The third, and by far most successful wave, was brought on in the early 1920's by the discovery of King Tut's cursed tomb. Interestingly enough, the second wave in the mid 1800's seems to have occured almost randomly and without the influence of any singular event, and is seen most often in memorials, cemeteries and prisons. Perhaps the most recognized modern building of an Egyptian style is the Luxor Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, although it should be mentioned that this structure in no way reflects the subtlety or class of earlier movements.

In addition to cemeteries, prisons and mausoleums, this Egyptian style was very prevalent in American theaters. Perhaps the best known and most well preserved of such theaters is Grauman's Egyptian Theater in Hollywood, CA -from the same man responsible for the ever-famous tourist magnet Chinese Theater. Sadly enough, of the 66 Egyptian-styled theaters in the entire world, only 19 are still open today and only two are currently in the throes of renovation.