A carefully carved limestone face in the inner core of theEgyptian queen’s famous bust (above, right) has emerged in new images, a new study says.
The object, currently on display in Berlin’s Altes Museum, was discovered in 1912 during an excavation of the studio of Egyptian royal sculptor Thutmose. The artist had sculpted Nefertiti—wife of Pharaoh Akhenaten—more than 3,300 years ago.
Scientists first scanned the sculpture in 1992, but advances in the technology have now allowed scans of greater precision, according to Alexander Huppertz, director of the Imaging Science Institute in Berlin.
These new images show that Thutmose placed stucco layers of varying thickness on top of a limestone core.
Nefertiti’s “hidden” visage is more realistic, with creases around the corners of her mouth (above, bottom left) and cheeks, less prominent cheekbones, and a bump on her nose.
“CT [scans] impressively demonstrated that the inner core was not just an anonymous mold, but rather a skillfully rendered work of quality art,” Huppertz said in an email.
In the final stucco layer (above, top left), Thutmose smoothed over the creases and nose bump, possibly to reflect the “aesthetic ideals of the era,” said Huppertz, whose research appears in [the 2015] April in the journal Radiology.
Such glimpses into Thutmose’s artistry will help conservators “prevent damage of this extremely precious art object,” Huppertz said.
That’s because the scans also revealed areas where the stucco is most vulnerable and requires the most careful handling.”
My take on all this recent news.
Based on just the three pics supplied by the National Geographic , I have my doubts about conscious “photoshopping.”
From the pics in the article, the wrinkles could just be tool marks left by her famous sculptor. And the bump on the nose may be just two lateral “swollen” areas. Not sure it qualifies as ancient photoshopping yet. Would need to see a side view of the inner and outer busts. BTW, I have heard that the elongated headgear was the sculptor’s effort to “balance” the weight of the entire work since he knew it was of uber fragile material.
Egyptians did love to embellish and “mannerize” their royalty, who in the Pharaohs’ cases were seen as gods. Who among us hasn’t embellished our god/s or God?
This doesn’t mean, however, that the Egyptians didn’t go overboard with their images of King Tut, making him one handsome dude in his various busts and his funeral mask.
Your turn: If you have seen any of the Tut artifacts, Nefertiti’s bust in Germany, or the recent miniseries called “Tut,” please share your feelings about same in the Comments.