Classical and Byzantine masterpieces are presented by Ali Aboutaam of Phoenix Ancient Art, an exhibit to hone the visitor’s historical and cultural acumen. In its main gallery, which is located in the center of Geneva’s old town, Ali Aboutaam has been showcasing a variety of ancient treasures for the past few weeks.
The exhibit’s pieces blend artistic excellence, historical intrigue, and the enthusiasm of the collectors to whom they have belonged over the years. Thus, many of these artifacts were amassed as early as the 18th century and were frequently owned by renowned collectors up until the present.
Ali Aboutaam adds: “We are thrilled to have opened this new exhibition, which brings together pieces that are being seen by the public in Geneva for the first time and beautifully depict the various civilizations of the Mediterranean Basin.”
Among the items on show, two exquisite Cycladic idols from the middle of the third millennium BC that were carved in Aegean marble stand out. The modest yet beautiful statuettes of this type are to blame for the fame and appeal of ancient Cycladic art to contemporary creative tastes.
Additionally, there are two extraordinary and extremely rare bronze idols from the Iron Age known as the Piravand type (after the region from where they originate in the early 1st millennium BC). Their “stylized” forms served as a major source of inspiration for modern artists like Miró and Modigliani, as well as other sculptors during the start of the 20th century.
The tour starts on the bottom floor, where a charming figurine of a turtle is on display. The visitor is transported back in time by this artifact, which Phoenix Ancient Art’s curators date to the 4th millennium BC. The sculpture, which is carved in a pebble of beige limestone flecked with gray in a highly realistic manner, unmistakably depicts a miniature tortoise, an animal common in Western Asia and Egypt in ancient times. It is undeniable that it captivated renowned numismatist Leo Mildenberg of Zurich just as much. Mr. Aboutaam mentions, “It is even one of his favorite items.” The collector chose it to represent the cover of the 1986 catalog, “More Animals in Ancient Art from the L. Mildenberg collection”, which was published by A.P. Kozloff.
The exhibition will be on display at 6 rue Verdaine in Old Town, Geneva, until the end of August 2022. View the full interview by L’Art a Genève here.