Figured Ostracon with Head of Akhenaten
Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
On View: Amarna Period, Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Gallery, 3rd Floor
Art of the Amarna period is characterized by a distinctive exaggeration and elongation of facial features and limbs. Artists learning the style sketched elements of scenes as well as larger compositions on flakes of limestone or potsherds, known as ostraca. Because sketches were typically discarded soon after they were finished, artists preferred to sketch on the readily available ostraca, rather than on expensive papyrus.
The ostracon displayed here represents Akhenaten and a fist holding a horse’s reigns. Some scholars have interpreted it as a study for a scene of Akhenaten on a chariot. Others see it as a caricature, due to Akhenaten’s exaggerated features.
ca. 1352–1336 B.C.E.
late Dynasty 18
New Kingdom, Amarna Period
4 11/16 x 5 5/8 x 1 in. (11.9 x 14.3 x 2.5 cm) (show scale)
Gift of the Egypt Exploration Society
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Figured Ostracon with Head of Akhenaten, ca. 1352–1336 B.C.E. Limestone, pigment, 4 11/16 x 5 5/8 x 1 in. (11.9 x 14.3 x 2.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Egypt Exploration Society, 36.876. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 36.876_SL3.jpg)
overall, 36.876_SL3.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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Limestone trial piece with ink sketch of the head of Akhenaten and to the right a clenched hand. The king wears the elongated crown with royal uraeus. His features include the usual long skull, very full lips and receding forehead. .
Condition: A large fragment has been glued in place at the top of the piece. A small chip is missing at the thumb. The upper part of the drawing of the crown is very faint.
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