Statue of Senusret II
The statue offers a naturalistic treatment of the eyes and mouth and is found in the sculptures of Nofret and in this unsubscribed bust attributed to King Senusret II.
During the reign of Senusret II, the image of the king was transformed both textually and visually, with signs of age appearing that include a wrinkled forehead, heavy brows, bags under the eyes, and a furrowed expression.
Historical records from the reigns of Amenemhat II and Senusret II are scarce, and many artworks likely from these reigns lack inscriptions. It is clear, however, that significant artistic changes took place during this time. Faces have shed the abstract idealization of earlier works. The facial musculature is softly articulated, rounded eyes press against fleshy lids, and the mouth has lost its rigid edge. The face is not yet personalized, but it has come alive.
The lengths of the reigns of Senusret II and Senusret III are one of the main considerations for discerning the chronology of the 12th Dynasty. Senusret II’s reign ushered in a period of peace and prosperity, with no recorded military campaigns and the proliferation of trade between Egypt and the Near-East.
Middle Kingdom, 12th Dynasty, reign of Senusret II, ca. 1897-1878 BC. Grey granite, from Memphis. Now in the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen. ÆIN 659