The bust of Queen Nefertiti. Photo: Philip Pikart’s image is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
Has the ancient Egyptian artist who created the famous bust of Nefertiti been identified? French Egyptologist Alain Zivie certainly thinks so. In a recent article in Arts & Cultures,1 the annual publication of the Musée Barbier-Müller, Zivie demonstrates that we have very good reasons to believe that a 14th-century B.C. Egyptian artist named Thutmose was the skilled artisan who memorialized Nefertiti’s visage in stone and plaster.
Nefertiti was the wife of Akhenaten, pharaoh of Egypt in the mid-14th century B.C. In the fifth year of his reign, Akhenaten moved the capital from Memphis to Akhetaten (modern Tell el-Amarna), a new city he established on the east side of the Nile River. During Akhenaten’s reign, new styles of Egyptian art were adopted—with one of the most iconic pieces of art from this period being the bust of Nefertiti. It is debated whether the famous bust idealized the queen’s beauty.