National Geographic : 1971 Jun
trumpet in the right hand and a standard in the left. But still nobody knows what great triumph the fiercely proud, wind swept figure commemorates, or what bloodshed, valor, prizes, and enslave ments. All we can be sure of, after 21 centuries, is that the marble still expresses a paean of fierce pride, a tribute to the courage and skill that lead valiant men to victory. THE LOUVRE'S vast collection of Greek and Roman antiquities encompasses more than 20,000 objects: coins, jewelry, and an array of gods, goddesses, warriors, senators, and horses-in marble, bronze, clay, and mosaic. Installed in 37 galleries, the cream of this vast crop alone would rank the Louvre among the foremost museums in the world. Yet it is only a prelude. More precisely, it is merely one department. The Louvre has six others. The Department of Egyptian An tiquities (pages 822-3) emerged from the booty of exotic statues, mummies, and artifacts sent back to Paris by Napoleon's agents in the wake of his conquering armies. The visitor enters the Egyptian section through a dark ened sunken tunnel. From the depths of a cavern a monumental red sphinx smiles. Opposite, the graven image of a long-dead pharaoh, arms crossed, stares through the sphinx with shin ing mother-of-pearl eyes. In the brightly lighted main Egyp tian galleries, the forbidding atmos phere of sphinx and pharaoh fades quickly away. Thanks to the ancient Egyptian passion for creating fac similes of almost everything that Lustrous as a jewel, "The Ma donna of Chancellor Rolin" shows the 15th-century Burgundian pray ing before the Virgin. Flemish master Jan van Eyck achieved the luminous effect by brushing newly developed oil paints over tradi tional egg tempera. The painting, in the opinion of author Lester Cooke, is among the finest in the Louvre's collection of more than 300 Flemish works. 806 GIRAUDON© N.G.S.