The bust of Queen Nefertiti housed in Berlin’s Neues Museum is one of Ancient Egypt’s most famous works of art. A prime example of ancient artistry, this icon has been called “the most beautiful woman in the world”. Hypnotizing audiences since it went on display in 1923, the statue gives insight into the enigmatic queen and continues to generate controversy and debate in art and politics.
Nefertiti’s bust is the sole work of art in the dimly lit room. She stands 48 cm (19 inches) tall and weighs 20 kg (44 lbs). Positioned slightly above eye level, the viewer gazes up at her, contributing to the power and regal feeling of the piece. The statue is delicate, elegant and very symmetrical with a visual flow guiding you from the top of the crown down to the long neck. The naturalism differs from earlier more formal and rigid Egyptian art.
The estimated date of the statue’s creation is 1345 BC by the sculptor Thutmose during the Amarna Period. There are no inscriptions, but Nefertiti was identified by her trademark blue flat-top crown with the uraeus (rearing cobra), which is missing. The core is limestone covered with plaster, which allowed for the exception molding and detail around the face.