The term "blockbuster" for a big museum exhibition has become a passe relic of the 20th century. But if we were still using the B word, it might apply to a show coming to the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, on Dec. 17.
Mark your calendars now for "Ancient Egypt — Art and Magic." It's a diverse collection from as far back as 6,000 years and includes precious jeweled objects, tomb reliefs and large mummy cases that held the remains of dignitaries and royalty, called sarcophagi. They all come from the Foundation Gandur pour l'Art, which has one of the finest private antiquities collections in Europe, and it's curated by Robert Stephen Bianchi, a leading Egyptologist.
And if that isn't enough provenance for you, at least one of the works has a grand and glamorous recent past. It's a carved wood sarcophagus that was part of the fabled art collection of couturier Yves Saint Laurent. (You can find online an iconic photo of Saint Laurent leaning against it taken in 1980 for Vogue.) He died in 2008 and his longtime partner auctioned much of their art, including the sarcophagus (1080-655 B.C.), in a record-breaking sale that brought in a total of about $477 million. It was bought for an undisclosed price. For more information, go to fine-arts.org.
VIP treatment awaits Dalí visitor
Since opening Jan. 11, the new Salvador Dalí museum has drawn big crowds and now a milestone is closing in, with the 200,000 visitor expected sometime Saturday or Sunday.
If you are that person, you will be plucked from the quotidian line of regular folks, whisked off to a VIP behind-the-scenes tour and receive a family membership for one year. It's a $90 value and includes unlimited free admission for two adults and all children and grandchildren in the household plus a 10 percent discount in the museum store.
The museum is in downtown St. Petersburg at 1 Dalí Blvd. (Bayshore Drive SE and Fifth Avenue SE), adjacent to the Mahaffey Theater. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday (extended to 8 p.m. Thursday) and noon to 5:30 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $21 adults; $19 seniors military, police and firefighters; $15 kids 13 to 18 and all students with ID; $7 kids 6 to 12; and free for kids 5 and younger. Reduced admission after 5 p.m. Thursday is $10. (727) 823-3767 or thedali.org.