Paintings: Nefertiti

10 x 20"
Acrylic on Canvas board
Temporarily NFS--Reserved for Summer/Fall Shows
~ Prints are available here ~

For the record, some of the brighter whites were lost to scanning. I had to scan Nef in pieces, and she wouldn't flatten completely against the scan bed.

The bust of Nefertiti by the sculptor Thutmose (or more properly, his workshop) may be the most popular image of the queen, but my personal favorite is actually a little brown quartzite head housed in Berlin. The warm brown quartzite has a very soft, skin-like finish, and the perfect features of the bust are rendered more softly, with the hint of dimples in her cheeks, a feature shared by other quartzite sculptures of her. As for the wrinkles, small blemishes, and skin shine.... She was the Lady of the Two Lands, wife to the heretic pharaoh Akhenaten, bore six daughters (and maybe more children that didn't survive), and had duties to tend to in her husband's roofless, solar temples. However well she may have taken care of herself, time would have its say.

As Nefertiti is seldom shown with earrings, I chose to forgo them (rather gratefully, too, after painting that collar!). Scholars have guessed that Nefertiti's distinct crown was made out of leather, and the colored rectangles in the surrounding band represented semi-precious stones--both represented texturally here. As Nefertiti's personality can vary wildly depending on who is interpreting it, I kept her expression relatively neutral, as befits a queen holding court. Those might be smile lines, or marks of disapproval. Are her eyes truly warm, or is that only their color covering her inner coolness? I have my own ideas on the matter, and that is the glory of history--having enough facts about someone to feel you "know" them, while recognizing that you never really can.

Neferiti's husband, Pharaoh Akhenaten:

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Artwork and text © Arden Ellen Nixon