Statue of Akhenaten and Nefertiti

This small, painted votive statue depicts King Akhenaten and his Great Wife Nefertiti. The king and queen are shown hand in hand (a notedly unusual pose in New Kingdom artwork), as if walking forward together. They stand quite far apart, entirely unbending as they stare straight ahead, without the ghost of a smile. They are clothed in very fine, close-pleated linen, and wear broad collars on their shoulders. As in most of their official portraits, the king wears the Blue Khepresh Crown and the queen a tall flat-topped headdress.

Hand-holding couples, royal or otherwise, are not very common in Egyptian art, but are found from the Old Kingdom onward. Typologically, then, there is nothing unusual in this group. It conforms exactly to the conventions of the Amarna style: the canon of proportions is short, the male and female bodies are similar, the neck stretched forward, the head raised, and ribbons blow in the wind.

Statue of Akhenaten and Nefertiti
Statue of Akhenaten and Nefertiti
Statue of Akhenaten and Nefertiti
Statue of Akhenaten and Nefertiti

The typical anatomical distortions of the Amarna style are all present. The narrow, round shoulders; the short upper torso; swollen belly, hips and thighs; and slender arms and legs.

New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty, Amarna Period, reign of Akhenaten, ca. 1353-1336 BC. Now in the Louvre. E 15593