Painting "Lieutenant-General Minutoli in the Siwah Oasis" with monogram L. F. (Louis Faur) (c. 1823) by Louis FaureNeues Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
We all have that friend - the one who always seems to be on holiday and won’t let you forget it posting leg selfies (or possibly hotdogs) 5 times a day.
They didn’t have Instagram in the 19th Century...
...but if they had, Baron Heinrich von Minutoli would have been all over your feed posting a large series of fabulous Egyptian scenes.
As he travelled around Egypt collecting literally a mound of souvenirs. At the end of his tour in 1822, his team shipped home 117 crates of keepsakes.
It was a huge haul of altars, statues, and architectural pieces, as well as Arabic manuscripts, mummies and a 4.000 year old stone sarcophagus.
20 crates went by land back to Germany and 97 were loaded onto a ship bound for Hamburg.
But as the ship neared northern Germany, it encountered a massive storm and sank, taking the 97 crates of artifacts to the bottom of the North Sea.
Still, the collection had two significant impacts. First, the works that arrived by land became the seed collection of the Egyptian Museum on Berlin’s Museum Island.
This painting though, showing Minutoli at the Siwa Oasis in Egypt, was kept by his family. Only in 1987 it could be reunited with the remains of Minutoli's collection at the Neues Museum.
The pieces inspired an entire generation of explorers and Egyptologists.
PS: Some of the sunken treasures came up again. Six mummies were washed ashore near the German town of Cuxhaven. The townspeople freaked out in view of: the invasion by the undead.
Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz