Today in writing the sixth chapter of my book Evolution Through Art, the section on the great Egyptian sculptor Thutmose, circa 1350 BC, I was struck by the similarities of this sculpture of Tutankhamen’s grandfather, Amenhotep III and the famous Gold Mask of Tutankhamen. But I am wondering if the portrait study is not Amenhotep III but a life study of Tutankhamen?
In 1912 a German Archaeological expedition discovered the workshop of Thutmose, he was a contemporary and court sculptor to pharaoh Akhenaten, the father of Tutankhamen, and the husband to Nefertiti. There among many of the plaster casts of the royal family they found the famous painted limestone sculpture Nefertiti. Along with the this head study. Looking at many of the plaster casts and other sculptures they look so alive and nuanced I believe they were sculpted from life, from the living royal family.
My query started when I was wondering who sculpted the famous gold mask. I was struck by the similarities. Same shape of the head, there is a particular curve in the jaw line, the rounded nose, the full Asiatic eyelids, and the cheeks; even the corners of the mouth.
It is a little difficult to see past the sheen of the gold and eye makeup, but to my eye it is a match. It seems the study was from life then used as a prototype for official portraits. Indeed, it is a much closer match than this study to the official portraits of Amenhotep III, which are more squat and round.
Michael Newberry, Idyllwild, 4/13/2020