Overview: The monumental obelisk—a four-sided, tapering structure with a pyramid-like shape on top—dates back to ancient Egypt. This exhibition focused on literature describing these types of structures, particularly those found in Rome, with 22 books on Rome and its obelisks. Eight Egyptian obelisks were brought to Rome between the first century BC and the fourth century AD; five more ancient Roman obelisks built there during the same time period have been discovered. In addition, five more modern obelisks were erected in the city in the 19th and 20th centuries. Also included in the exhibition were descriptions of Egyptian obelisks erected in Paris in 1833, London in 1878, and New York in 1881.
Organization: The exhibition was organized by the National Gallery of Art. Neal Turtell, executive librarian, was curator.