Christopher Kovacs - Fine Art
June 25, 2024   12:20 pm NL Time

Ancient Wonders

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Ancient Wonders


Status of Original Painting – Private Collection

All prices are in Canadian dollars

Size: 13.88 x 21.25  inches

Medium: Watercolour on 300 lb Arches


For a long time I’d wanted to see the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx at Giza, and in early December I did just that on a trip to Cairo. A painting seemed inevitable; consequently, I had many photos to sort through after I returned. This one required four different photos of mine, plus a reference photo I borrowed to adjust the shadows on the Sphinx for the time of day I wanted.

In most of my paintings there are studies of contrasts — whether between bright and dark, between colors, between textures, or between man-made and nature. In this one it’s largely all man-made structures that have been weather-beaten by nature. But in the background the modern skyline of Cairo is peeking through, obscured by wind-blown sand and smog. And for perspective there are six camels in the scene…if you can find them.

In putting this together, I took some liberties. For example, a couple of decades ago, a concrete collar was placed around the Sphinx’s neck to support the headdress. That’s visible on the left, but I left it out on the right side in order that the original profile of the neck would be visible. It represents another contrast, in this case between ancient and modern Egyptian workmanship and materials (limestone vs. concrete). Any additional editing of reality should be obvious  to anyone who has visited the Great Pyramids.

The other thing about this painting is that it looks so different depending upon the ambient lighting. The Sphinx goes from a sandy brown to golden, for example, and the shadows get darker. But that’s appropriate because the coloring varies a lot in reality too.

My thanks to our tour guide Meena and the concierges at Fairmont Nile City who arranged the expeditions.

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