The Joy of Museums

Finding Meaning in Art & History

Standing Figure of Nefertiti

Nefertiti Standing-striding Berlin detail

The “Standing Figure of Nefertiti” is a limestone sculpture of Queen Nefertiti, who was the Great Royal Wife of the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten and Egypt’s Queen during the period of 1370 B.C.-1330 B.C. The name Nefertiti, means “the beautiful one has cometh forth”. As the Great Royal Wife she was the chief consort of the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten of the Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt.

Dating from the year 1350 BC, the 40 cm high limestone statue is one of the outstanding surviving representations of the Queen who has a special role in the history of Ancient Egypt. The figure was found broken and in multiple pieces. The statue pieces were found in 1920 during an excavation by the German Oriental Society in remains of the studio of Thutmose.

The right arm and parts of the upper left arm were damaged and missing, as are the toes and the nipples. Markings on the statue indicate that it had not been completed, further work was needed on the face to make it more realistic.

Nefertiti Standing-striding Berlin

The queen’s depiction is typical of the art of the Amarna period. She is wearing sandals and a transparent robe, which can only be recognized by the sleeves on the arms. Depicted with her left leg forward, the back of the sculptured figure, is connected to a back pillar.

The ancient Egyptian city of Tell el-Amarna or simply Amarna was the short-lived capital of Egypt built by Pharaoh Akhenaten and which was later abandoned shortly after his death in 1332 BCE. Amarna is the largest easily accessible ancient archaeological site from ancient Egypt. The site continues to be studied to this day.

Amarna Nordpalast 17

Tell el-Amarna (Amarna), Egypt – site of Pharaoh Akhenaten capital

A German archaeological expedition in 1912 digging in Akhenaten’s deserted city of Akhetaton, at Amarna, found a ruined house and studio complex of “The King’s Favourite and Master of Works, the Sculptor Thutmose”. During the excavations in Amarna, between 7000 and 10,000 objects were discovered, 5000 of which are now located in Berlin. Most of them have not yet been restored or studied. Some of the Amarna masterpieces that can be seen at the Neues Museum include:

Other historical artefacts recovered from Thutmose’s abandoned studio can be viewed at:

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Essential Facts:

  • Title:                     Standing Figure of Nefertiti
  • Date:                     1345 BCE
  • Material:             Limestone
  • Period:                 New Kingdom, Eighteenth Dynasty, early Amarna Period
  • Dimensions:      H: 40 cm
  • Discovered:        1912: Amarna, Egypt
  • Museums:           Egyptian Museum of Berlin, Neues Museum, Berlin,

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“Life is short and truth works far and lives long: let us speak the truth.”
Arthur Schopenhauer

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Photo Credit: 1) By Photo: Andreas Praefcke (Own work (own photograph)) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons 2) By Olaf Tausch (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons 3) By Photo: Andreas Praefcke (Own work (own photograph)) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons