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Relief of a Nobleman

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Egypt Reborn: Art for Eternity, 19th Dynasty to Roman Period, Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Gallery, 3rd Floor

The exact context of this relief is unknown. The anonymous noble's garment and elaborate wig with lotus flower fillet and intricate locks are perfect attire for an offering scene in the underworld.

The relief clearly illustrates the legacy of the artistic style championed by Akhenaten, Egypt's so-called heretic pharaoh. The projection of the face and neck beyond the wig and the deep carving of the rear of the head are details that continued long after Akhenaten's reign. The elegant treatmnent suggests that the relief comes from a tomb at Saqqara, a vast cemetery in the region of Memphis. At the left a hand holds a sistrum (or rattle) and a flower. The missing person was surely a woman, either the wife or some other relative of the deceased.

MEDIUM Limestone, painted
  • Possible Place Made: Saqqara, Egypt
  • DATES ca. 1295-1070 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY XIX Dynasty or XX Dynasty
    PERIOD New Kingdom
    DIMENSIONS 20 3/16 x 17 1/4 in. (51.3 x 43.8 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Relief of a Nobleman, ca. 1295-1070 B.C.E. Limestone, painted, 20 3/16 x 17 1/4 in. (51.3 x 43.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 36.261. Creative Commons-BY
    IMAGE installation, West Wing gallery 8 installation, CUR.36.261_wwg8.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2010
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Painted limestone relief, probably from a tomb, of the head and bust of a man wearing an elaborate headdress. Sunk relief. Probably a fragment from a large scene in the offering chamber of a tomb. The man wears a very elaborate headdress and garment typical of the Late Empire Period. His wig is beautifully executed and is most elaborate in detail. He faces the spectator’s right in a conventional pose. Behind him is a very large sistrum grasped in a hand. Probably this fragment is from the figure of his wife. There is no inscription. The workmanship is excellent. Condition: The wig was painted a blue-black most of which still remains. In the center of the lower edge is an ancient repair filling a gap in the stone. One large chip in the cheek, some slight pitting, forehead and wig slightly chipped.
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