Scribe is an etching which arose from the body of work which William Kentridge did on a project in the Louvre Museum, Paris in June 2010. The Carnets d’Egypte (Egyptian Sketchbooks) was the name of the exhibition and included were 16 short films shown in the Egyptian Collection Wing. Some of the images that Kentridge made, both in film as and in drawings, were of the Scribe. Here the artist puts himself in the scene, adopting the position of the Scribe, while he recited Percy Bysshe Shelley’s famous poem Ozymandias – an ode to Ramses II.
One of the short films titled Scribe, involves the silent interaction between the two scribes where both characters are played by Kentridge. The Scribe imagery was adapted in various works, The etching was originated by Kentridge on a single copperplate at David Krut Workshop. Other images relating to the Scribe were photogravures and charcoal drawings on multiple pages. Ancient Egypt is a theme that first appeared in Kentridge’s work in 2004 in preparation for his staging of Mozarts comic opera, The Magic Flute.