Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Faces of Egypt

by Gregg Chadwick

Faces of Egypt photo by Gregg Chadwick
Egyptian Portraits at the Neues Museum, Berlin
photo by Gregg Chadwick

Upper Left
Mask from Amarna: Portrait of a Man

Center : Queen Nefertiti

Bottom Right: Pharaoh Ay

New Kingdom, Dynasty 18, ca. 1340 BC
Height 18 cm

Neues Museum, Berlin

These life-sized masks are from a series found in the workshop of the sculptor Thutmoses in Achet-Aton (today called Amarna) in Middle Egypt. Amarna was the capital of Egypt during the reign of Pharaoh Akhenaton and Queen Nefertiti.

The portrait study of a man in the upper left of the photo provides an interesting view of Thutmoses' artistic process.
First a cast was taken directly from the sitter's face and then a gypsum copy was made from the mould. The gypsum sculpture was then brought to detailed completion.

In this installation of ancient sculptures, we are directly confronted with the real faces of Egypt. Even if the sitters' names and identities have been lost to history, their muted presence seems to express the events they have witnessed and the stories they could tell.

The faces being broadcast out of Egypt today seem to carry the same weight of history.

Queen Nefertiti
Queen Nefertiti at at the Neues Museum, Berlin
photo by Gregg Chadwick

Protester at Tahrir Square on January 31, 2011

More at:
Neues Museum
National Geographic - Pharaohs of the Sun
Kmt: A Modern Journal of Ancient Egypt
Wael Ghonim, Google executive and democracy activist held by Egyptian authorities for 12 days, is being credited with re-energizing the Egyptian protests

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