214 years ago, on July 15th, 1799, the Rosetta Stone was discovered during Napoleon’s Egyptian campaign. Containing a decree recorded in classical Greek and Egyptian hieroglyphs, researchers could finally decode the mysterious symbols into words. Among the participants in the campaign was Jean–Louis Reynier, whose (very handsome) face guards our galleries.
I pass this painting almost every day–mostly because I think he kind of looks like Colin Firth— but until this topic came up as a collection highlight, I had never noticed the pyramids in the background. Though I may have once been distracted by what was in the foreground (ahem), now I’m more eager to study the background, which commemorates such a fascinating life. Thanks to our curator, Luke Kelly, for bringing this to our attention!
With 5,000 years of human creativity housed under our roof, it’s always amazing to make connections like these between objects in our collection. Come in and see for yourself!