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POSTER OF THE MONTH

 original vintage travel poster Egypt Ramses II 1959
H. Hashem
39 ½" x 27 ½"
A-, P


In 1959, Egypt had just embarked on a territorial alliance with Syria, known as The United Arab Republic (UAR). The former's tourist poster campaign at that time could be said to be redolent of the sense that the world at large might want to check into how the innovation was going. (It was short-lived.)
Our vivid example allows us to consider the design factors sustaining this new, and hopefully lucrative, association. First of all, the very fine lithograph perhaps surprisingly features a death mask, replete with the standard forms of big eyes and a faint smile. No doubt, there has been, for a couple of centuries now, a steady clientele drawn to the many exotic spectacles of that hotbed of archaeological brilliance. One instance would have been the death mask of Romesses II (pictured here), known as "the greatest pharaoh." There he is, residing in an eternal night. But, with a new dynasty in the offing, he could be the poster boy for an awesome cultural ascendancy.
Thereby, the composition transcends the standby tourist range, and places the spotlight upon the life of the populace undergoing an upgrade. With only that rather solicitous visage to go by, an easy-going visitor might place hopes on the sanguine image of the symbolic ruler as implying a society of (newly?) generous hospitality. The extraordinary volatility and rancor of that region at that time might have led to such a subtly focused presentation.

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