Portrait of Champollion

Portrait of Champollion
Portrait of Champollion

The reason for including this painting made in 1831 by the painter Leon Cogniet and which is now owned by the Louvre Museum in Parisin Laguia2000's art blog it's really not so much his artistic quality as the presentation of the character he portrays.

It is true that the portrait itself is a good work, characteristic of the production of this painter halfway between Neoclassicism and Romanticism, since he has bequeathed a handful of interesting works. Although he stood out more as a teacher of painters, training countless French artists for years.


Portrait of Champollion

But as we said, the most interesting thing about this bust is the portrait, which is none other than Jean François Champollion (1790 – 1832), the most famous Egyptologist of all time, since it was he who deciphered the keys to the Rosetta Stone in which they find the keys to understand the hieroglyphic writing of Ancient Egypt.

And this huge stone is an Egyptian stele with an inscribed text. It is a decree promulgated in the year 195 a. C. in the city of Memphis and by order of Pharaoh Ptolemy V. But the extraordinary thing is that this decree is inscribed in three types of writing. In the highest area it is related from Egyptian hieroglyphs. In the center it says the same but in home automation writing. And finally, in the mostlow is in ancient greek. In other words, thanks to this, the secrets of many ancient hieroglyphs were unraveled.

Curiously enough, the Rosetta Stone has been exhibited in the British Museum in London since 1802, shortly after its discovery in the Nile delta, and it had to be a Frenchman, like Jean François Champollion who deciphered it. However, that task was not as easy as comparing the texts in the different scripts.

The truth is that Champollion before that he had to recognize an Egyptian alphabet by studying the inscriptions of numerous temples such as Karnak. And besides, he did that without traveling to Egypt. A dream that he did not fulfill until he joined theEgyptology department of the Louvreand finally traveled on a scientific expedition to Egypt in 1828.

That would be his only trip to the Egypt of the pharaohs, and of course he left in writing an extensive chronicle of everything he saw and fascinated him from the Pyramids of Gizeh near Cairoto the monumental Abu Simbel already in Nubian lands.

A trip and fieldwork that lasted 18 months and that left him practically mortally wounded due to his naturally sickly he alth. In fact, a few months later he passed away at the age of 41.

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