Luigi Vassalli (photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons)
About the Lecture:
Luigi Vassalli was born in 1812 in Milan. In 1828 he enrolled at the Brera Academy and around this period he joined the Mazzinian activism but after a failed conspiracy he was sentenced to death, only to be pardoned but exiled. He moved in several places across Europe and later he traveled to Egypt where he began working for the local government.
In 1848 Vassalli returned to his homeland to join the revolutionary movements against the Austrian Empire, but after the failure he returned to Egypt where he became a portrait painter and an archaeological guide for wealthy foreigners. Around 1858 he was appointed Inspector of excavations by the French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette, who was Director of Antiquities at this time. Vassalli assisted in excavations at Giza and Saqqara until 1860, when he returned home to give his contribution to the Expedition of the Thousand led by Giuseppe Garibaldi. After the victory he was appointed First Class Conservator at the Naples National Archaeological Museum
; however, the office was soon abolished by the still pro-Borbonic
museum management and Vassalli again came back to Cairo.
In Egypt he made several archaeological explorations in many sites such as Tanis, Saqqara, Dendera and Edfu from 1861 to 1868. He sent many mummy remains to the Museo Civico di Storia Naturale of Milan and in 1871 he made around 150 casts from monuments exhibited in the Bulaq Museum
which he brought to Florence with him. During his short stay here the Italian government asked him to inspect many Egyptian collections in Italy, after which he returned to his duties in Cairo.
Meidum geese, museum of Cairo. Dimensions: 160 x 24 cm. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
Still in 1871, along with Mariette he discovered the mastaba of Nefermaat at Meidum, which is well known for the famous scene commonly referred as the "Meidum geese". Vassalli carefully removed the whole scene from the tomb wall and reassembled it inside the Bulaq Museum. This fact sparked a controversy over a century later in 2015, when the Egyptologist Francesco Tiradritti suggested that the Meidum geese scene is a 19th-century forgery possibly made by Vassalli himself, a claim disputed by Egyptian authorities, among them Zahi Hawass.
After Mariette's death in 1881, Vassalli became interim director until the installation of Gaston Maspero. He retired in 1884 and returned to Milan and then to Rome, where he committed suicide on June 13, 1887.
About the Speaker:
Dr. Francesco Tiradritti (Photo from francetvinfo.fr)
Francesco Tiradritti was born in Montepulciano, Italy, on August 17th, 1961.
He is currently Director of the Italian
Archaeological Mission to Luxor where he is
working in the Funerary Complex of Harwa (TT 37)
and Akhimenru (TT 404) and the Tomb of Pabasa (TT
279). He received his PhD at the University of
Rome "La Sapienza" with a doctoral thesis on the
Propaganda on Royal Stelae of the XX Dynasty. He
also obtained a D.E.A. at the University La
Sorbonne in Paris.
Tiradritti has taken part in excavations in Italy,
in the Sudan and at a several sites in Egypt –
including the Tomb of Sheshonq (TT 27) and at
Gebelein. He has worked for many years as consulting
Egyptologist at the Civiche Raccolte Archeologiche of
Milan. Additionally he has taught Egyptology in
Enna, Naples, Foggia, Turin and at the University of
Ljubljana in Slovenia. In 2004-2005 Dr. Tiradritti
occupied the Dorothy K. Hohenberg Chair of Excellence
in History of Art at the University of Memphis in
Memphis, Tennessee. In 2013 he was scholar at the
Getty Research Institute.
He has been a member of the commission for the
feasibility study of the Grand Egyptian Museum at
Giza and for the renovation project of the Egyptian
Museum in Turin. He has organized and worked on more
than twenty exhibitions on various aspects of ancient
Egyptian civilization in Italy, Hungary, Slovenia,
Spain, Switzerland, Czech Republic and in Egypt.
He is the author of Ancient Egypt: Art, Architecture and History, published in 2002 in Italian, English, Spanish, & Chinese, and Egyptian Wall Paintings, published in 2008 in Italian, French, German, & English. Dr. Tiradritti is also the editor of Egyptian Treasures from the Egyptian Museum of Cairo, published in 1999 and translated into thirteen languages between 1998 and 2000. He
has authored several scientific publications on
Egyptology and Sudanese archaeology, and regularly writes for "The Art Newspaper" and "Archeologia Viva".
Triadritti's research focuses primarily on a
semantic approach to archaeology, history of art and
the culture of ancient Egypt.
Source: The speaker.
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