Traditional Egyptian relief rendered both feet as seen from the inside, with the big toe closer to the viewer. In the Eighteenth Dynasty, however, artists began to experiment with more accurate representations, first in tomb painting and then in sculpture and relief. This relief, representing all five toes of the right foot, is one of the first examples of a break with the earlier tradition.
The standardized shape of the block and the realistic modeling are characteristic of the Amarna Period. While several royal women of Amarna wore floor-length pleated garments like these, the life-size scale points to Queen Nefertiti as the owner of these feet.
The exceptional quality of modeling on this face sets it apart from most bronze statues of this size. The traces of gilding, which suggest a divine visage, and the remains of inlaid eyes are mere hints of its original splendor.
The shape of the fragment indicates that this hollow cast face was produced separately, perhaps for a composite statue. However, the shape of the neck is reminiscent of human-headed attachments for processional barks, which held divine images during temple festivals.
Body Parts: Ancient Egyptian Fragments and Amulets
November 19, 2009–June 30, 2013
Body Parts features thirty-five representations of individual body parts from the Brooklyn Museum’s ancient Egyptian collection, many of which are displayed for the first time. This exhibition uses fragments of sculptures and objects created as distinct elements to illuminate the very realistic depiction of individual body parts in canonical Egyptian sculpture. Ancient Egyptian artists carefully portrayed each part of the human body, respecting the significance of every detail. When viewed individually, these sculptures and fragments reveal ancient notions of the body, as well as details of workmanship, frequently unnoticed in more complete sculptures.
This exhibition is organized by Yekaterina Barbash, Assistant Curator of Egyptian Art, Brooklyn Museum.