Week 3 (Jacqueline Hazlett)

One of the most notable sculptures of the Amarna period was the representational Bust of Nefertiti, one of many wives to Dynasty King Akhenaten, thought to be crafted by artist Thutmose. The sculpture is full in the round, a piece that is meant to be engaged with and walked around as detail is emitted from all angles. The sculpture is well preserved painted limestone. The bust is now stored at the Agyptisches Museum (Egypt Museum) in Berlin, Germany.

B¸ste der Kˆnigin Nofretete

Bust of Nefertiti | Thutmose (assumed) | Agyptisches Museum | Image Source

King Akhenaten introduced the idea of monotheism to the Egyptians by proposing sole worship to Aten, the sun disk. Though the king had multiple wives, Nefertiti takes most prominence in her representation of the sun cult. She is identifiable in this sculpture by her blue crown. The piece consists of elongated features thought to emphasize the importance and value of the cult she represented, accompanied by more naturalistic features throughout.

The sculpture makes well use of the element of line. The lines across the crown vary against its natural space. This use of line creates tension and draws the eye further into the symbolic crown–in reference to the sun cult, perhaps intentional. With so many lines, rectangular shapes are consistent throughout this piece, and interesting way to internally frame an in the round sculpture. The overall color scheme is warm, with cooler decorative pieces, drawing attention to details that set the sculpture, and the woman, apart from other figures. The fact that this piece in the round creates a space that desires to be engaged with. elongated figures feel light and near weightless, sparking curiosity.

This bust exhibits high use of repetition. Both Nefertiti’s crown and dress consists of repeated modules and patterns in a consistent, bright color scheme. There unity and variety amongst the unifying rectangular module, and the varying shape and color. By using complementary colors, the artist has created rhythm, the jewels seem to buzz, or hum with excitement, bringing the piece to life.

The elements and overall principles incorporated into this piece were highly effective in means of drawing attention to the subject. If the king were wanting more people interested in his monotheistic worship as part of the sun cult, this piece more than adequate draws attention to the aspects of Nefertiti that pointed likewise.

Something I found most interesting outside of this piece was the one I originally anticipated writing on. I wanted to save repetition, but the Opening Mouth Ceremony interested me most. I know that there is a high usage of hieroglyphics in this piece, which aesthetically frames the painting in a partial manner, but also makes me think of a children’s book. This painting is on papyrus, a means of communication in this era, and from a book titled Book of the Dead. I am curious if this served more so as a manual, or a story/documentation of history.

Source:

Adams, L. S. (2011). A History of Western Art (5th Edition ed.). New York , New York: McGraw Hill.

“New Museum – Exclusive Museum Tours.” ARIADNE – EXKLUSIVE MUSEUMSFÜHRUNGEN ÜBER DIE BERLINER MUSEUMSINSEL, http://www.ariadne-berlin.de/en/neues-museum-guided-tour/.

6 thoughts on “Week 3 (Jacqueline Hazlett)”

  1. I like the piece you chose to analyze. I found the story of King Akhenaten very interesting. It’s crazy how they weren’t able to find his body. I agree that the use of a line on her crown does draw the eye to the symbolic meaning of the crown. I feel like it was intentional for the line to stand out amongst the rather simplistic design. The color choices of the mixture of the cool and dark tones does help the figure stand out. I love the contrasting colors used for the queen’s attire. I think it does make jewelry pop out more. I thought about analyzing the “Opening Mouth Ceremony” as well! It is such an amazing piece of artwork. Great job on your blog post!

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    1. I always think stories like those are funny, like “oops, we lost the body” …just seems like a weird thing to say.

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  2. I really enjoyed reading your analysis and I was also interested in King Akhenaten. It is interesting that the symbols point towards the worship of the sun disk. It is amazing how life-like this bust looks like! Did you read anything about where this bust would have been kept? Were the busts of all of the King’s wives in a row in one room? No worries if you don’t know or have an answer! Nice job either way! Sorry I took your topic on The Opening of the Mouth ;).

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    1. That’s a great question! So initially from what I read, I found that she was the favored wife, meaning that she was set apart and helped the king lead, while the other wives were more out of public statements, allegiances, or sheer lust. When I read further into it, it sounds like Nefertiti was actually ruler after her husband passed. This bust was made of her because of how highly she was held as the Egyptian standard of beauty and excellence amongst women…I think it’s safe to say her bust was likely set apart. 🙂

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  3. Compared to a painting which can only be viewed frontally, I like how this bust is three-dimensional and can be viewed from many different angles and perspectives. I’ve noticed that a lot of the ancient Egyptian ladies in paintings/sculptures wear eyeliner, lipstick, and have nice eyebrows. How do you think they applied the makeup back then? I’m sure they didn’t have all of the fancy applicators and brushes that we have now, but its kind of fun to think about.. Also, I liked what you said about the buzzing jewels that hummed with excitement. Super cool

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    1. I’ve always found that interesting! One of my best friends from high school was from Egypt and one time she described the history of “Egyptian Beauty Routines” It was super interesting and I remember her saying instead of baths, pharaohs would have generous amounts of oil applied to them to loosen the grime on them, and then a hand maid would take a razor to scrape it all off—talk about early day micro planing! I also found this bit from the History Channel, the end of the article is on makeup application! https://www.history.com/news/11-things-you-may-not-know-about-ancient-egypt

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