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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.
MEDIUM Limestone, pigment
  • Place Excavated: Tell el-Amarna, Egypt
  • DATES ca. 1352-1336 B.C.E
    DYNASTY late Dynasty 18
    PERIOD New Kingdom, Amarna Period
    DIMENSIONS 5 7/16 × 5 1/4 in. (13.8 × 13.3 cm)  (show scale)
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Amarna Period, Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Gallery, 3rd Floor
    ACCESSION NUMBER 33.686
    CREDIT LINE Gift of the Egypt Exploration Society
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION 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)
    IMAGE front, CUR.33.686_view01.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2015
    "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 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.
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