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Photographer's Note

This photograph shows the processional way of sphinxes in the Egyptian section of the Louvre museum.

Literature about this exhibit:
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Several hundred sphinxes similar to these once lined the processional way to the Serapis Temple (the Serapeum in Saqqara), which no longer exists. Processional ways lined with sphinxes existed as early as the New Kingdom. There is no evidence to date the Serapeum sphinxes accurately: they have neither inscriptions nor dedications. Many of them bear the marks of Greek graffiti, though these could be due to pilgrims from any period. By comparison with the large processional way of sphinxes leading to the Temple of Luxor, which can be accurately dated from the royal cartouches, the Serapeum sphinxes are usually attributed to Nectanebo I (Thirtieth Dynasty). Doubts have recently arisen as to this date; the sphinxes may in fact have been created during the reign of Ptolemy I or Ptolemy II, seventy to eighty years later. According to certain researchers, the shape of the king's face, the style of the eyes and eyebrows, as well as the lack of any inscription are all arguments in favor of this theory. Furthermore, they say that the cult of Serapis, created in Alexandria by Ptolemy I, was superimposed on the extremely ancient Apis cult, resulting in major construction projects under his successor, Ptolemy II.
These first two kings of the Greek dynasty, who enlarged the Serapis Temple, may also have created the processional way of sphinxes leading up to it.


Technical information about the photograph:
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Taken with a 60mm macro lens with the focus point being the near sphinx. The narrow depth of field allowed me to intentionally blur the other sphinxes in the image.

I don't think the Louvre would have liked me to set my tripod up so I was forced to use 1600 ISO. I don't mind this much as it gives the final image a grainy, almost film like appearance which I like.

I converted the original colour image to B&W before applying a slight Sepia tone.

John.

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