Sculptor's Trial Piece of Nefertiti
Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
On View: Amarna Period, Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Gallery, 3rd Floor
The style of art changed drastically at the beginning of the Amarna period, and both students and seasoned sculptors had to quickly adapt their skills. They practiced on pieces of limestone like this one.
The lightly incised image of Nefertiti is in the more delicate style of late Amarna art. Nefertiti’s face almost completely lacks modeling, and her tall crown is abruptly cut off at the top, suggesting that the image was not meant to be part of a larger scene but rather served as a sculptor’s trial piece.
ca. 1352-1332 B.C.E.
late Dynasty 18
New Kingdom, Amarna Period
4 × 2 3/16 × 9 in. (10.2 × 5.6 × 22.8 cm) (show scale)
Gift of the Egypt Exploration Society
Servants’ Quarters in the Great Palace at Tell el-Amarna; 1933-34, excavated by John Devitt Stringfellow Pendlebury for the Egypt Exploration Society, excavation no. 34-35/39; 1934, gift of the Egypt Exploration Society to the Brooklyn Museum.
Oblong limestone block apparently a sculptor’s study piece. On one side is a head of Nerfertiti, in sunk relief, wearing a high crown. There is no uraeus. The workmanship is good and the piece is typical of its period. On the back side are three figures, to the left is a feather sign, in the center is the trace of a skirt and a right foot, the latter unfinished. At the extreme right is the hieroglyph for “T”.
Condition: The face of the head of the queen is in practically perfect condition. The head is cut off about halfway up the crown which is apparently as it was originally made. The back of the piece is considerably chipped, a part of the feather sign and shirt are missing. The fracture suggests the sculptor deliberately eradicated these details.
Sculptor's Trial Piece of Nefertiti, ca. 1352-1332 B.C.E. Limestone, 4 × 2 3/16 × 9 in. (10.2 × 5.6 × 22.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Egypt Exploration Society, 35.1997. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: , CUR.35.1997_NegB_print_bw.jpg)
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