On the left side of the Introductory Gallery, near a wooden statuette of the late Eighteenth Dynasty king Amunhotep III, a small gallery is devoted to the reign of Amunhotep's son, Akhenaten (circa 1352–1336 B.C.E.). Akhenaten, the so-called "heretic king," repudiated the worship of traditional Egyptian deities in favor of the Aten, the Egyptian word for the sun itself. Reliefs from temple walls at Amarna, the city he founded, show a freshness and lively naturalism characteristic of the art of his time. Representations of King Akhenaten and his wife, Queen Nefertiti, were defaced after their deaths, when traditional Egyptian religious beliefs were reestablished.
The adjacent large gallery, named for Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin, continues the chronological progression of Egyptian art through the later New Kingdom, with tomb reliefs from the time of Tutankhamun (circa 1332–1322 B.C.E.), representations of Ramesses the Great (circa 1279–1213 B.C.E.), and examples of the luxury objects that these rulers and their elite subjects enjoyed.
The center of the gallery contains material from the Third Intermediate Period (circa 1075–656 B.C.E.). The Brooklyn Museum's strong holdings in the arts of this period include examples of the tendency to copy earlier art, as well as representations of powerful royal priestesses. Perhaps the most spectacular object is a mummy case made for a man named Nespanetjerenpere, which features richly painted decoration that is almost perfectly preserved.
The final section of this gallery focuses on the last centuries of ancient Egypt, beginning with the Late Period (664–332 B.C.E.), through the Greek Ptolemaic Dynasty (305–30 B.C.E.), and the Roman domination, which began when Cleopatra was defeated by Augustus and lasted until the end of the fourth century A.D. The many major works from this period include the small portrait head of a priest, the head of a queen that some scholars think may represent Cleopatra, and the Brooklyn Black Head, the colossal head of a man whose strong features and curly hairstyle combine Egyptian artistic traditions with Greek influences.
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