Institut d’Égypte

Cairo, Egypt

Burned 2011 

The Disappointed Tourist: Institut d’Égypte, Ellen Harvey, 2021. Oil and acrylic on Gessoboard, 18 x 24″ (46 x 61 cm). Photograph: Etienne Frossard.

The Institut d’Égypte or Egyptian Scientific Institute, is an academic institution specializing in Egyptology, established in 1798 by Napoleon Bonaparte during his invasion of Egypt. It is the oldest scientific institute in Egypt and held over 200,000 rare and antiquarian books and texts. Its building caught fire and burned down during classes between opposing protesters during the Arab Spring demonstrations of 2011. Despite the efforts of bystanders from all sides, who rushed in to save as many documents as possible, only about 30,000 documents were saved. The building was rebuilt and reopened in 2012. This painting is based on a 2007 photograph by Roland Unger on Wikipedia.

A sad story but also beautiful. Wish I could have seen it the way it was. Anon.