Skip Navigation

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)
    CREDIT LINE Gift of the Egypt Exploration Society
    PROVENANCE 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.
    Provenance FAQ
    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.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Amarna Period, Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Gallery, 3rd Floor
    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.
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
    You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply. Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form (charges apply). For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch. For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright. If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact
    Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.