Paint Box of Vizier Amenemope
Paint Box of Vizier Amenemope. Egypt, New Kingdom, Dynasty 18 (1540-1296 BC), reign of Amenhotep II, c. 1427-1401 BC. Boxwood with inscription inlaid in Egyptian blue, 3.6 x 2.2 x 21.0 cm. © The Cleveland Museum of Art. Gift of the John Huntington Art and Polytechnic Trust 1914.680
Image Courtesy of Cleveland Museum of Art.
This particular vizier, Amenemope, liked to paint for fun when he wasn't advising the Pharaoh. The paint box, carved from a single piece of boxwood, shows inlay of Egyptian blue in incised hieroglyphics at each end. The rounded squares were carved into the surface to create the paint wells. From the far left the dry pigment cakes are:
finely ground carbon black,
course ground carbon black,
red (red ochre (red iron oxide) mixed with orpiment).
All of the colors shown here are still in use today by historical pigment enthusiasts like me when our mad scientist selves are lurking.
The box is in surprisingly good condition and shows only minor cracking along the edges. Surfaces of the paint cakes look slightly dirty which would indicate the smearing of one pigment over another. Not bad for a three thousand four hundred year old artist's paint box.
Catalogue of Egyptian Art, Cleveland Museum of Art
Coming in March 2011
Lessons from the Pharaoh's Tomb, Part ll, Galerie Gabrie, Pasadena