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A K H E N A T O N  &  N E F E R T I T I

A  K  H  E  N  A  T  O  N   &   N  E  F  E  R  T  I  T  I

Akhenaton translates as "living spirit of Aton" and was known before the fifth year of his reign as Amenhotep IV. He was a Pharaoh of the Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt who ruled for 17 years and went missing in 1336 BCE. He is especially noted for abandoning traditional Egyptian polytheism and introducing a monotheistic worship centered on the Aton, a less dogmatic view of religion and more philosophical and spiritual. An early inscription likens him to the sun as compared to stars, and later official language avoids calling the Aton a god, giving the solar deity a status above mere gods.

Pharaoh Akhenaton was the son of Amenhotep III and Queen Tiyee, a descendent of a Hebrew tribe (this is why I've depicted him with blue eyes). He was also known as the "Heretic King" and was the tenth King of the 18th Dynasty. Egyptologists are still tying to figure out what actually happened during his lifetime as much of the truth was buried after he went missing. He only had one son, Tutankhaton, who later was persuaded to change his name to Tutankhamun. I believe King Tut was later assassinated by the Amun Priesthood so that Egypt would return to the worship of the Amun-Ra religion of polytheistic gods.


In the sixth year of his reign Akhenaton rejected the Gods of Thebes and declared for the first time in recorded history that there was only one God - the concept of monotheism. Overnight he turned 2,000 years of Egyptian religion upside down. 


Akhenaton's beloved wife and pharaoh queen who ruled with equal status and power was Nefertiti (meaning "beauty is here"), made world-famous by the discovery of her exquisitely molded and painted bust, now displayed in the Altes Museum of Berlin, and among the most recognized works of art surviving from the ancient world. Amarna is an extensive Egyptian archaeological site that represents the remains of the capital city newly established and built by Akhenaton. The name for the city employed by the ancient Egyptians is Akhetaton ("Horizon of the Aton"). This is where he and Nefertiti created a spiritual and artistic paradise for seventeen years, living in peace, balance, and harmony at the peak of Egypt's imperial glory. Never in its history of nearly 2 millennia had Egypt been richer, more powerful, more peaceful, or more secure.

Queen Nefertiti is often referred to in history as "The Most Beautiful Woman in the World." The Berlin bust, seen from two different angles, is indeed, the most famous depiction of her likeness. Found in the workshop of the famed sculptor Thutmose, the bust is believed to be a sculptor's model. The technique which begins with a carved piece of limestone, requires the stone core to be first plastered and then richly painted. Flesh tones on the face give the bust life.

Her full lips are enhanced by a bold red. Although the crystal inlay is missing from her left eye, both eyelids and brows are outlined in black. Her graceful elongated neck balances the tall, flat-top crown that adorns her sleek head. The vibrant colors of her necklace and crown contrast the yellow-brown of her smooth skin. While everything is sculpted to perfection, the one flaw of the piece is a broken left ear. Because this remarkable sculpture is still in existence, it is no wonder why Nefertiti remains...

"The Most Beautiful Woman in the World."

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