The Beautiful One is Come
by Michael Sones
One of the most famous and greatest works of art of the ancient world is the bust of the Egyptian queen, Nefertiti. The bust, created by the Egyptian artist Thutmose, is now in the Egyptian Museum in Berlin. It was discovered in 1914 in Tel el Amarna, Egypt. The bust is made of limestone which was then painted. She wore a blue headdress over a shaved bald head. The face is light tan and she has red lips and black eye make up probably representing kohl.
Nefertiti’s name has been translated as “the beautiful one is come.” However it is translated there is no question that, even by today’s supermodel standards, she was a royal beauty.
She was the wife of the Pharaoh Amenhotep IV, of the 18th Dynasty of the period of ancient Egyptian history known as the New Kingdom. He ruled from 1353-1336 BC. Amenhotep changed his name to Akhenaten about 1348 BC. He was a true religious revolutionary who introduced sweeping changes into Egyptian religious beliefs temporarily doing away with the worship of the multitude of old gods and replacing them with the monotheistic worship of one god, Aten, the sun disc. The old temples fell into neglect and the priests lost much of their power. There has been some speculation that he may have been influenced by the Hebrews.
Due to this belief Akhenaten and Nefertiti destroyed all of the other gods’ temples and built a new capital city called Akhetaten, “The Horizon of the Aten,” where Amarna now is. A new, exciting and more realistic period of Egyptian art, known as the Amarna Period, was ushered in.
They also had a big family with six daughters. In about the thirteenth year of her husband’s seventeen year reign, 1340 B.C., Nefertiti seems to disappear. The suggestion is that she fell from favour for some reason and was replaced by one of her daughters. But time has shrouded what really happened to this most beautiful of women.