Unfinished Portrait of Nefertiti
Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
On View: Amarna Period, Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Gallery, 3rd Floor
Artistic style drastically changed during the Amarna Period. Because artists had to quickly adapt to the new style, they left behind an unprecedented number of trial pieces and sculptor’s models. Such unfinished works reveal the artistic process of ancient sculptors.
The initial sketch in black ink outlines Nefertiti’s tall crown, and indicates her facial features and long neck with neck folds. The artist began sculpting the relief by carving away stone around Nefertiti’s profile and marking out the eyes, lips, and ear.
ca. 1352-1336 B.C.E
late Dynasty 18
New Kingdom, Amarna Period
Gift of the Egypt Exploration Society
Great Temple at Tell el-Amarna, Egypt; 1932-33, excavated during by John Devitt Stringfellow Pendlebury for the Egypt Exploration Society (excavation no. 32-33/78); 1933, gift of the Egypt Exploration Society to the Brooklyn Museum.
Unfinished sculptor’s trial piece on white limestone, being a portrait of Nefert-iti. She wears the usual tall crown, the uraeus is not indicated. The portrait if first sketched on the stone in black ink which served as guiding lines to the sculptor. The face has been only roughly blocked out and while the piece is far from being an object of beauty, it is of great technical interest.
Condition: Preserved portion in good condition.
Unfinished Portrait of Nefertiti, ca. 1352-1336 B.C.E. Limestone, pigment, 5 7/16 × 5 1/4 in. (13.8 × 13.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Egypt Exploration Society, 33.686. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.33.686_view01.jpg)
. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2015
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