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Head of a Man

Date 1295–1186 B.C.
Object type sculpture
Medium, technique limestone

22 × 22 × 21 cm

Inventory number 51.2262
Collection Egyptian Art
On view This artwork isn't on view.

Towards the end of the Eighteenth Dynasty, in the Amarna period (c. 1353-1333 BC), profound changes occurred in Egyptian religious and artistic thinking. The new subjects and, somewhat naturalistic trend in art was a dramatic departure from the traditional, timeless Egyptian style. Very soon, however, in the subsequent post-Amarna period, artists returned to old subjects and methods. Yet some of the innovations persisted and influenced later art. This statue head, exhibiting traits of both traditional and Amarna art, was probably produced in the post-Amarna period. Consistent with the traditional style, the idealized face – though it represents a young man – does not actually reflect the age of its owner, nor his personality, or emotions. Yet the naturalistic rendering of the eyes and lips, as well as the form of the pierced earlobes, is reminiscent of Amarna art.
The superbly carved head may come from a seated or kneeling statue representing a man of high status. His titles and name were probably inscribed on the back pillar, the remaining small part of which preserves only a few signs of a two-column hieroglyphic inscription. Originally the head was painted, and it is documented that traces of red ochre were still visible on the face in the 1930s, when it was transferred to the Museum of Fine Arts from the Hungarian National Museum.

Katalin Kóthay

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