In 1828 a group of archaeologists and painters, seven French and seven Italian, left for Egypt, to discover its mysterious history. At the head of these were respectively François Champollion, the most famous Egyptologist of all time, who saw the dream of a lifetime thus crowned, and Ippolito Rosellini from Pisa. Pupil and teacher, friends, colleagues, both subsidized by their sovereigns (the recently restored Charles X of France and Leopold II of Tuscany). Purpose of the mission: to gather as many testimonies as possible of the unknown Egyptian history.
During the 5 months of travel, from his delta, they went up the Nile to the remote Nubia, passing through Alexandria, Cairo, Memphis, Giza, Thebes (Luxor) and Abu Simbel. All together they devoted themselves to the collection of utensils, tablets, stones and sarcophagi but above all to the meticulous copy of the wall paintings. The two teams spent whole days reproducing on their notebooks what their eyes could see in temples and tombs. In the evening, camped in nearby tents and heated by the same hearth, the two groups exchanged all the material of the day to correct errors and fill any gap in reproduction. A true and proper and intimate collaboration.
On their return home, as we can imagine, museums, private collections and antique dealers from France and Tuscany came out very enriched. But the greatest fortune they had drawn from those distant lands was not an antique, but the most extensive testimony of hieroglyphic inscriptions and Egyptian iconography ever collected.
Only two years later, the great Champollion, the one who years before, using the Rosetta Stone, had succeeded in deciphering the hieroglyphics and had finally been able to observe them in the tombs of the Pharaohs, passed away. The great responsibility to draw up and publish all the documentation fell to Rosellini. Wonderful matrices that were used to print the iconographic apparatus of a legendary book were created by great engravers, such as Lasinio father and son. “I Monumenti dell’Egitto e della Nubia. Disegnati dalla spedizione scientifico-letteraria toscana in Egitto […] Illustrati dal dottore Ippolito Rosellini” is one of the most important illustrative works of the nineteenth century which, even after the invention of photography, thanks to the accuracy of the drawings, served, and still serves, as a source for the studies of Egyptology.
Libreria Gozzini presents here a selection of these famous plates (or fragments of them) which, preserving the original color, transport us even today, after almost two hundred years from the expedition and thousands of years after the prosperity of the Egyptian civilization, inside those beautiful tombs, full of charm and mystery, in the presence of the Egyptian pantheon and the great Pharaohs.