Ramesses II, detail. Musee d'Art et d'Histoire de Geneve. Creative Commons Attribution - Share Alike 3.0. Detail of photograph by Rama.

study days

Art of the Pharaohs

  • Wednesday 15 February 2023
  • Hilda Clark Suite, Friends House, 173-177 Euston Road, London NW1 2BJ
  • Lecturer: Lucia Gahlin

This study day will focus on the reigns of four pharaohs to explore the extent to which ancient Egyptian art was used as a political tool, fundamental to the ideology of ancient Egyptian kingship.

Portrait of a Female Pharaoh: Hatshepsut
The ideology and iconography of the ancient Egyptian pharaoh were inherently male. This lecture will explore how ancient artists dealt with the conceptual conundrum of a female pharaoh.

The Mythologising of a Pharaoh: Akhenaten, deformed or divine?
Akhenaten introduced monotheism to Egypt, and the accompanying art is unlike that of any other pharaoh’s reign. This lecture will explore the extent to which this has lead to extreme and varied interpretations of his iconography.

“Wonderful Things!” Tutankhamun’s Tomb and Treasures
Tutankhamun’s tomb is the best-known in the Valley of the Kings, but its design and decoration are not those of a pharaoh. This lecture will explore the likelihood that this was not his intended tomb, and the evidence for ancient Egyptian cancel culture.

The Colossal Art and Architecture of Egypt’s Boldest Pharaoh
Despite a 67-year reign, Ramesses II’s sculptors recycled his statuary. We will explore the evidence for the usurping of royal imagery, as well as the use of art to portray fake news.


Egyptologist Lucia Gahlin lectures widely and leads regular archaeological tours to Egypt. She has worked at UCL’s Petrie Museum of Egyptian and Sudanese Archaeology and the archaeological site of Tell el-Amarna in Egypt. Her publications include Egypt: Gods, Myths and Religion.

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