Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Creative Archaeology

Alexandria Serapeum
Computer painting
Charlene Brown
This painting of the Temple of Serapis at Alexandria doesn’t actually exist except on my computer. It was produced by overlaying images of the god Serapis and the Bull God Apis on a Photoshopped photo of Apollonia, Libya.

A little background on the miraculously suspended statue of Sirapis (which may not have existed either)… After Alexander the Great conquered Egypt in the 4th century BCE (page 4 on History of Design website) a combined Hellenistic-Egyptian god in human form, equivalent to the very popular Apis, was introduced to reconcile the two belief systems. An impressive temple was built (apparently vaulted in lodestone) that housed a colossal wood and iron statue of Serapis “which was neither supported on a base, nor attached to the wall by any brackets, but remained suspended.”

Later Christians considered this engineering feat diabolical trickery and the temple was ordered destroyed in the 4th century CE.

When possible, I prepare my sketchbook with notes such as this, which tend to conjure up interesting images – more about this in my next post, ‘12 things to take on a painting trip.’