Photo from the collection of Michael G. Wilson, courtesy of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art

This view of the Pyramids at Saqqara, the necropolis of the Old Kingdom (2686–2181 B.C.) capital at Memphis, reveals Frith’s flair for scale and dramatic composition. The viewer’s eye bends along the path of a rounded letter “Z”, encountering progressively larger objects along the way: two tiny skulls in the foreground, then two larger figures (Egyptians lounging in the sand), and finally two massive pyramids in the distance, one of which is the famous Step Pyramid of Djoser.