Jean-François Champollion is the first Egyptologist to have deciphered the hieroglyphs. New drawings recounting his expeditions have been bought from private individuals.
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Jean-François Champollion fascinates. First Egyptologist to decipher hieroglyphics, he is admired today while remaining a rather mysterious character.
New drawings illustrating the scholar’s expedition to Egypt tell of the character and his way of working in the Nile Valley. It’s the new museum in Vif en Isère dedicated to Jean-François Champollion, who acquired by preemption three rare sketchbooks made by the designer Salvatore Cherubini, the Department said on Wednesday June 15.
The notebooks of the Tuscan draftsman contain nearly 150 drawings and sketches made during the expedition led by Jean-François Champollion in Egypt between 1828 and 1829, and in particular the exploration of the Nile valley. They include drawings of landscapes, monuments and remarkable sites, portraits of Egyptians, Orientals and members of the expedition, including one by Jean-François Champollion himself, dressed in Oriental style, seized at Medinet Habou in 1829.
Held by individuals and put up for public sale this weekend at the Hôtel Drouot in Paris, the notebooks were acquired for 18,000 euros by the Department of Isère, which made use of a “right of preemption” from the state. It’s about a “exceptional procedure (which) allows an institution to replace the last bidder during a public sale of works of art or archives“, the Department said in a statement.
The three notebooks will complete the collections of the Musée Champollion, which opened just a year ago in Vif near Grenoble, and those of other national and international Egyptological institutions. This acquisition comes as the bicentenary of the decipherment of hieroglyphs is celebrated this year with several exhibitions and cultural events in the native town of the scientist in Figeac (Lot) which also has a Champollion museum.