About This Print
There’s simply something about the mysterious Sphinx that has captured the collective imagination of people around the world across the ages. The Sphinx and the great Egyptian pyramids at Giza has been a stopping point for any traveler seeing the world for most of known history. When the Greeks and Romans of antiquity were going strong, the Sphinx was already an ancient wonder.
This Giza plateau panorama shows two of the pharaonic pyramids beyond the enigmatic Sphinx. There was simply something about this image in particular that reminded me of vintage photographs from the beginnings of modern Egyptian tourism. Some of the earliest travel photographers documented the antiquities of Egypt. They were the first to photograph ancient ruins like the Sphinx. And in turn those souvenir photos fueled over a hundred years of travelers seeking the Egypt they had seen in some sepia-toned print. Ultimately, I wanted to pay homage to those old photos, the first actual pictures of these incredible landmarks.
The final print stirs the feelings of a grand tour of Egypt from the late 19th or early 20th century. It reminds me not just of my own trip to Egypt but of the generations of tourists before me seeking out the same mysteries of ancient Egypt. One of those mysteries has long been who the Sphinx was meant to portray. The general consensus of today is that the Sphinx represented Pharaoh Khafre whose pyramid is to the right in this print. His ancient tomb is the only one that still retains some of the original limestone casing (at the pinnacle of the pyramid). The Sphinx is believed to have been carved at the same time his pyramid, the second at Giza, was built. The rocky outcrop that was adjacent was transformed into the Sphinx. So in some sense, the Sphinx may have simply been a decorating solution to cover an ancient eyesore next to his tomb!
The more things change, the more they stay the same, eh?
Have you stood before the mysterious Sphinx? Or does this print simply stir the archaeologist or adventurous traveler in your heart? I would love to hear what strikes you most about this vintage style Sphinx print.