Great Sphinx of Giza (Vivant Denon)  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Vivant Denon drew this image of the Great Sphinx of Giza around 1798, prior to its defacement. He shows the sphinx being measured by French surveyors. This image and written account (a part of the collection) is from the 1803 issue of Universal Magazine.

From that same magazine, here is the written account in Denon's own words,

"...Though its proportions are colossal, the outline is pure and graceful; the expression of the head is mild, gracious, and tranquil; the character is African, but the mouth, and lips of which are thick, has a softness and delicacy of execution truly admirable; it seems real life and flesh.
Art must have been at a high pitch when this monument was executed; for, if the head wants what is called style, that is the say, the straight and bold lines which give expression to the figures under which the Greeks have designated their deities, yet sufficient justice has been rendered to the fine simplicity and character of nature which is displayed in this figure....Freedman.org [1]




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