One of the great archaeological illustrators of the 20th century, Piet de Jong spent the summer of 1957, at the invitation of excavation director Rodney Young, working at the renowned site of Gordion in central Turkey. While de Jong set about on a series of watercolors reconstructing wall paintings from a previously uncovered "Painted House," ca. 500 BCE, Penn Museum excavators were making a now-famous discovery: they penetrated a large, exceptionally well-preserved grave mound, known as the "Midas Mound" for its association with the legendary King Midas and his family. There, they found a wealth, not of gold, but of royal artifacts and information about the Phrygian people of 2700 years ago.
This exhibition pays tribute to the famous illustrator's visit and his summer's work, carried out during a most auspicious season at Gordion, Turkey, where the Penn Museum has been excavating since 1950. More than 35 original watercolors, chiefly from the "Painted House" project, and several drawings of renowned artifacts from the "Midas Mound," form the core of His Golden Touch, which also features artist's tools that belonged to de Jong, a small selection of objects from the Museum's excavations at Gordion, reproductions of several artifacts from tombs at the site, and excerpts from two rare color films made at the site in the 1950s.
This exhibition was sponsored in part by the Turkish Cultural Foundation.
His Golden Touch: The Gordion Drawings of Piet de Jong was on display in the Merle-Smith Gallery
26 September 2009 through 10 January 2010.