Frank Dillon - View of the Island of Philae in the Nile Valley
View of the Island of Philae in the Nile Valley
Oil on canvas (relined). 64 x 102 cm.
Signed lower left: F. Dillon.
The island of Philae, south of Assuan in northern Egypt, is flooded today, but a temple complex was located there until 1977. The complex encompassed a main temple dedicated to the goddess Isis as well as several smaller subsidiary buildings. During the construction of the Assuan dam, the entire temple complex was deconstructed and rebuilt on the slightly higher neighboring island of Agilkia, a project which was completed by 1980.
This veduta depicts the original location on the island of Philae. Trajan's Kiosk, one of the smaller buildings in the complex, is shown in the right half of the image in the shimmering reddish light of the evening sun. First erected by Emperor Augustus, the Kiosk was reconstructed under Trajan, and received its name from him. The Kiosk consists of a row of 14 columns with bell shaped papyrus capitals supporting an architrave.
The English painter Frank Dillon travelled to Egypt for the first time in 1854, and further sojourns were to follow. From this point onwards, Egyptian motifs formed the bulk of his oeuvre, which consisted of paintings and numerous prints. The dam project that was to flood the temple at Philae was already in planning during Dillon's lifetime, and the artist protested vehemently against it. The relocated ruins of the temple complex have been listed by UNESCO as world cultural heritage since 1979.