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The Idol

about 1910
Olaf Helliesen Lange (Norwegian, 1875–1965)


Sheet: 47.6 x 65.3 cm (18 3/4 x 25 11/16 in.) Image: 31.9 x 41.4 cm (12 9/16 x 16 5/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Etching and aquatint, printed from multiple plates in color and metallic inks

Not On View


Europe, Prints and Drawings



A golden idol is carried on the shoulders of slaves against a starry evening sky. This mysterious image is rooted in the nineteenth-century European fascination with Egypt, a form of the Egyptomania that had influenced fine and decorative arts at various times since the Renaissance. The mythology and rituals of the Pharoahs were as exciting to late-nineteenth century artists, particularly the Symbolists, as the objects recently excavated from tombs and palaces along the Nile. Olaf Helliesen Lange combines an imagined ancient religious procession suggestive of Symbolism with the intensely saturated colors and metallic decorative elements of Germanic Art Nouveau.


Graphite, l.r.: Olaf Lange; l.l.: no 41/50


James A. Bergquist, Newton, MA; sold by James A. Bergquist to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. (Accession date: December 13, 2006)

Credit Line

Museum purchase with funds donated by Phyllis Anina Moriarty