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Ars 101

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Michelle Cabirac
ARS 101
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The relief sculpture of the pharaoh Akhenaten, Nefertiti and three Daughters, along with the relief sculpture of Mai and Urel emerged from the eighteenth dynasty during the New Kingdom, and commenced a brief artistic revolution in Egyptian art. These two sculptures portrayed a sense of realism that was never seen before in the earlier/ancestral Egyptian artwork. By comparing and contrasting the two relief sculptures one can achieve a better sense of what each piece of art was trying to express. By examining both the relief sculptures of Akhenaten, Nefertiti and three Daughters, and Mai and Urel, several differences can be depicted. Many of these unlike characteristics involve a representation of the human form and appearance. At the top of the sculpture of Akhenaten, Nefertiti and three Daughters, appears a sun disk with rays angling down on all of them to represent the God of Aton. However, no such reference to Aton can be found in the sculpture of Mai and Urel. Next, the figures are seated facing one another in the sculpture of Akhenaten, Nefertiti and three Daughters, while the figures are both facing right in the sculpture of Mai and Urel. In addition, the Akhenaten, Nefertiti and three Daughters sculpture clearly has a reference to offspring. In the sculpture of Mai and Urel no children seem to appear. A few other contrasting characteristics of these two relief sculptures involve specifically the human form. The figures of Akhenaten and Nefertiti have overextended proportions, slender legs, broad hips, protruding lower bellies and long curved necks, which all help to create the unique haggard features and curved outlining used in this sculpture. Whereas the body structure of the figures in the Mai and Urel sculpture demonstrate a more meticulous and refined outlining. Although the relief sculptures of Akhenaten, Nefertiti and three Daughters, and Mai and Urel have an array of conflicting characteristics, there are a few similarities that can be revealed as well. Both relief sculptures seem to expose an intimate expression of love and revitalization. In Akhenaten, Nefertiti and three Daughters sculpture Akhenaten is kissing one of his daughters while Nefertiti comforts and embraces their other two daughters. The whole scene truly expresses a loving and intimate family moment. In the Mai and Urel sculpture the two figures are sitting very close to one another while Urel wraps her arm around her husband. This scene symbolizes a genuine and loving environment between husband and wife. Also, the sculptures of Akhenaten, Nefertiti and three Daughters, and Mai and Urel both contain the image of the lotus flower. The lotus flower appears on the crown of the left figure for both individual statue, and in the hand of Urel. The lotus flower often signifies a tribute to renewal or rebirth. By comparing and contrasting the two relief sculptures of Akhenaten, Nefertiti and three Daughters, and Mai and Urel, one is able to gain a better understanding and appreciation for art that commenced during the New Kingdom. Although there are several distinct contrasting characteristics involving the depiction of the human form between the two sculptures, they both seem to share a common theme. The Amarna style sculpture of Akhenaten, Nefertiti and three Daughters is an expression of love and royal intimacy. The Mai and Urel sculpture is part of a funerary banquet scene that also happens to portray an intimate and loving environment.…...

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