Masterpieces of Eastern Med Art: Lecture Brief

The Fertile Crescent and its immediate neighbors share something more profound than just geographical proximity. Countries like Turkey, Iraq, Egypt, Syria and Greece were all sites of magnificent Neolithic and Bronze Age cultures and civilizations that made the Eastern Mediterranean a vibrant mosaic of human creativity and a treasure-trove of stories about human genius. Art, true to its essence as the mirror of every age, gives us privileged insights into the human condition of the successive communities that inhabited this part of the world. During my lecture on the ‘Masterpieces of the Eastern Mediterranean Civilizations’, we came across Minoan fishermen, Cycladic musicians, Phoenician traders, Mycenaean warriors, Hittite metal smiths, to the end of the long and exotic list.

The masterpieces presented were:

The Totem Pole of Gobekli Tepe, Neolithic Art
Stag Rhyton, Hittite Art
The Frescoes of Akotiri, Minoan Art
The Harp Player, Cycladic Art
Sword with Lion Hunt Scene, Mycenaean Art
Amphora with Ajax and Achilles playing a board game, Archaic Period Art
Statue of Ebih-il, Tell Hariri Art
Coin with Hoplites and Hippocampus, Phoenician Art
The Narmer Palette, Egyptian Early Dynastic Art
The Tomb of Nebamun, Egyptian New Kingdom Art
The Standard of Ur, Sumerian Art

The colors of the Akotiri frescos are vivid and bright, and so are those of the Tomb of Nebamun. The attention to detail in the Ajax-and-Achilles Amphora and the Standard of Ur is fascinating, whereas the abstraction of the Cycladic Harp Player is breathtaking. The Phoenician coin with Hoplites and the Mycenaean Sword with Lion Hunt Scene are miracles of compression, and the Narmer Palette and the Stag Rhyton are both ripe with symbolism.

Once again, many thanks to all those that attended the lecture.

My New Course: Art Masterpieces of Eastern Mediterranean Civilizations

I am glad to announce my new course in Cairo this spring, this time dedicated to a fascinating topic, namely the Art Masterpieces of Eastern Mediterranean Civilizations, with a focus on Egypt, the Levant, Greece and Asia Minor.
From the Minoan Marine Style to the Egyptian Amarna Style and from Phoenician panels to Hittite rhytons, this course will be an aesthetically breath-taking journey in space and time for all history buffs and art lovers.

Below are the details of this course:
Title : Masterpieces of Ancient Art in the Eastern Mediterranean
Lecturer : Mohammed Elrazzaz, Prof. of Mediterranean Heritage
Language : Arabic (slides in English)
Venue : My place in Rhoda, Manial, Cairo
Date : 31 March 2018
Duration : 2 hours (7pm – 9pm)
Fees : 350 EGP

Deadline for confirmation is 10 March 2018, but please note that the places are usually booked very quickly, so, hurry up! PLEASE do not reserve if you are not 100% sure that you would come. Have respect for the lecturer and for the other people who want to come.

يسعدني أن أعلن عن المحاضرة القادمة التي سألقيها في القاهرة في مارس المقبل، والتي تتناول موضوعاً شيقاً للغاية، هو روائع الفن لحضارات شرق المتوسط، مع التركيز على مصر والمشرق واليونان وآسيا الصغرى.
تأخذنا المحاضرة في جولة مبهرة في المكان والزمان لكل عشاق الفن وهواة التاريخ، حيث نتنقل بين الطراز البحري للمينوسيين وطراز العمارنة المصري، وبين الألواح الفنية الفينيقية وأقداح الشراب الحيثية.

وفيما يلي تفاصيل المحاضرة:
العنوان : روائع الفن القديم لحضارات شرق المتوسط
المحاضر : محمد الرزاز، أستاذ تراث حوض البحر المتوسط
اللغة : العربية
المكان : منزلي في الروضة، المنيل – القاهرة
التاريخ : يوم 31 مارس
الفترة : ساعتان (من السابعة إلى التاسعة مساءًا)
الرسوم : ثلاثمائة وخمسين جنيهاً

الموعد النهائي للحجز هو العاشر من مارس، مع العلم بأن الأماكن يتم حجزها بسرعة، وأن الأفضلية للأسبق في الحجز. رجاء عدم الحجز دون التأكد من قدرتكم على الحضور احتراماً للمحاضر ولغيركم ممن يرغب الحضور.


My Art Course in Cairo: Prehistoric & Ancient Egyptian Art (7 Aug)

Course Title:
Masterpieces of Prehistoric & Ancient Egyptian Art

Date & Time:
Thursday, 7 August 2014 – 8:00 pm (2.5 hours)

33 A, al-Meqias Street, Roda, Manial. 4th floor, apt. 9.

Long before the dynastic period in Ancient Egypt, extraordinary manifestations of artistic genius and exceptional craftsmanship abounded in different sites along the Nile Valley from the Delta and all the way to the cataracts and beyond. One cannot possibly fully appreciate the art of Ancient Egypt without understanding its direct precursor(s), specially the Neolithic Cultures of Badari, Omari, Naqada, and others.
The course explores a succession of cultures and styles through masterpieces of both Prehistoric Egyptian Art and Ancient Egyptian Art, with a focus on painting, sculpture, ceramics and jewelry. From the Bird Lady of Naqada to the painted Tomb-Chapel of Nebamun, these masterpieces will form the backdrop for some fascinating stories and little known facts about art and life in Ancient Egypt.

EGP 300 / Person.
The fees include handouts/readings that will be distributed to the participants. They do not include hard or soft copies of the PowerPoint Presentation.
Audio and video recording are not allowed.

Deadline for reservation/cancellation:
31 July 2014 (If all places are reserved prior to that date, I will announce it).
Please reserve only if you are 100% sure you would attend.

Mohammed Elrazzaz is Professor of Tools for Managing Culture at the Universitat Internacional de Catalunya (UIC), Barcelona, since 2010. He holds an MA in Arts & Cultural Management from the same university, and he has a vast experience in the field as founder-moderator of Pen Temple Pilots (2002-2012). He is currently a PhD candidate (Cultural Heritage).

This course is not dedicated to architecture. If you expect a discussion on ‘how the pyramids were built?’, then this is not the course for you. No background whatsoever is necessary for attending this course.

Reservations & Further Inquiries:


The Paris Experience: From Notre Dame to the Louvre


This gallery contains 119 photos.

I. Paris: The Ne Plus Ultra of Elegance No matter how charming you think Paris is, it still manages to exceed your expectations. In a city where art is at home, where culture found some of its most prominent pamphleteers … Continue reading

The World’s Top Plundered Artifacts

Plundered Art fills many museums around the world (and constitutes the core of countless private collections). Time Magazine once issued a list of the Top 10 Plundered Artifacts, but the list included such ‘non-art’ artifacts as the Skull of Geronimo! Moreover, the list included artifacts that were already repatriated (given back) to their countries of origin, like the Egyptian Frescos at the Louvre, the Euphronios Crater given back to Italy by the MET, etc.

When I think of the most important plundered artifacts, five artifacts come to my mind, and I placed them all in the slide hereunder. I did not include the artifacts looted from Iraq because –supposedly- efforts are underway to recover them. Have a good look, and try to figure out the names of the artifacts in the slide before scrolling down to read their names.

Plundered Art

Here are the answers:

1. The Elgin Marbles (Greek – Currently at the British Museum)
2. The Rosetta Stone (Egyptian – Currently at the British Museum)
3. The Benin Bronzes (Nigerian – Currently in several museums around the world)
4. Nefertiti’s Bust (Egyptian – Currently at the Egyptian Museum of Berlin)
5. Priam’s Treasure (Turkish – Currently at the Pushkin Museum in Moscow)

Obviously, you can add to the list!

Petrodollars become a ‘Cezanne’: The Card Players sold for $ 250 million

Until few days ago, Picasso’s ‘Nude, Green Leaves and Bust’ was the most expensive painting ever sold. This has changed.
According to Vanity Fair, the Royal family of Qatar paid $ 250 million to acquire Paul Cezanne’s ‘The Card Players’ (not to be confused with the ones at the Metropolitan Museum and Musée d’Orsay).

Qatar’s national collection already includes works by Andy Warhol, Rothko, Damien Hirst, and the list goes on. Petrodollars (and art markets) at work!

Pushwagner: Art is life intensely experienced

Today I watched the documentary about Pushwagner (whose real name is Terje Brofos), a famous contemporary Norwegian pop artist whose life is no less interesting or exotic than his art. I first learned about him from one of my students, Ms. Jannicke Velsvik (thanks!), and I’m a big fan ever since.

At a point in his life, all seemed lost for Pushwagner: he was a homeless drug addict who had lost all the artworks that he ever created since he was twelve to his agent, having desperately signed a contract transferring the ownership rights to his agent in order to drop some debts (we’re speaking about some 2,000 artworks). Then something happened: twelve years later, he won a long court battle for the rights to his artworks, and that marked the resurrection of Pushwagner, who know owns a gallery in Oslo, and features in documentaries that celebrate his life and talent. True art, it seems, is sometimes about life intensely experienced.

His art, like his life, is eccentric. It presents a vivid, colorful (and at times monochrome) satire of our consumerism, of capitalism, of modernity and of the futility of our lifestyle. It comes as no surprise that his artist name itself is a sarcastic mix of push + wagon (the shopping cart in a supermarket!).