Ancient Egypt–Art and Magic, opens at the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, Florida

Ancient Egypt never ceases to fascinate. Its elaborate religion, art, and ritual make it at once foreign and compelling. Now a new exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, Florida, showcases some of the highlights of this unique culture.

Ancient Egypt–Art and Magic: Treasures of the Fondation Gandur pour l’Art brings to the public eye one of the greatest private collections of Ancient Egyptian art. These 100 choice pieces from the collection of Jean Claude Gandur of Geneva, Switzerland, include mummy cases, statues of pharaohs, papyrus texts, and precious jewels.

Each item emphasizes the skill of the ancient Egyptian artisans and their culture’s deep connection to magic. Alongside the works of art are explanations of how magic played a part in every aspect of Egyptian society, and how these particular objects fit into that belief.

Some of the items have an interesting modern history too. One sarcophagus was owned by the late French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent.

It’s rare for so many items from a private collection to go on display all together, so if you’re passing through Florida, be sure to make it to this exhibition. The exhibition runs until April 29, 2012.

This photo shows the lid from a sarcophagus, made of gessoed and painted wood from either the 21st or 22nd dynasty (1080-720 BC), from the Collection of the Fondation Gandur pour l’Art.