Colossal Statue of a Pharaoah

ColossalStatue of a Pharaoah

ColossalStatue of a Pharaoah




Artist`sbirth/death dates:&nbspReign of Amenemhat II

Titleand date of work:&nbspca. 1919-1878 B.C.

Dimensions:&nbspHeight320, Width 110.5 cm

Medium:&nbspGranodioriteLocationof work (name of museum/gallery/collection):&nbspThe MetropolitanMuseum of Art, New York

Info/Briefdescription given by museum:

Thisis a statue of a Pharaoh seated. The state belongs to a Pharaoh ofthe Twelfth Dynastyduring the reign of Amenemhat II orSenwosret II.


Theart shows a man seated. The image is black and shiny, polished. Theman in the figure is wearing a headdress running from the head to theneck and flowing to the chest. The head dress has something extendingto the forehead. The image reveals muscles on the arm, shoulder,chest and stomach. The man in the image is wearing a skirt. He hasvery large legs that are not proportional to his body. Some parts ofthe statue are broken including the nose, chin and neck area at thefront where the beard should have been, the right arm, and theheaddress on the side of the right arm. There are some other partsthat are scratched like the left side of the headdress. Other partsof the body are intact and lack scratches and abrasions (Voves,2015).The seat is broken off on the side of the right foot and cracked ontowards the back. It has inscriptions all around it. With a frown onthe face, the pharaoh looks at the sculptor with the expression ofauthority mixed with compassion.


Thesculptor considered past styles of sculpting and mixed it with somenew techniques like that of displaying the realistic facial featuresof the Pharaohs. Including color on the statue would make it looklike a real man sitting. The statue is large, slightly larger thanthe size of a full-grown man.

TechniqueGranodioritewhich was used to sculpt the statue is medium to coarse grained. Theimage is polished and smooth on the parts that show the bare body andcoarse on the regions that represent the skirt and head dress. Someparts like the neck have become coarse as a result of breaking overtime (Oppenheim et al.). Some other lost parts like the arm alsoaffect the original work.Composition:Thestatue is more patterned at the top, putting more emphasis on thesmoothness of the body than that of the legs, this material istherefore said to be top heavy. The pattern is smooth with occasionalroughness that depicts certain features of the body.

Forms/ShapesTheshape of the sculpture is large. It portrays a feeling of heavinessand strength. The figure of the man in the statue is full shaped withfull cheeks, muscular arms and legs, strong stomach and well definedshoulders.

SpaceThestatue is a free standing material. The sculptor intended that theart be observed from bothe sides and the front but not the back. Thefigure has a front that bears most of the important features. The artappears stable. Despite the passage of time, the piece has remainedalmost complete except for the missing right forearm.

Color:Thecolor of the statue is bright. It is made up of black and whitecolors, blended together to make an even finish. There are someregions that appear brighter than others and others appear very dark.These are very effective in bringing out emphasis on certainimportant regions on the statue (Voves,2015).

TextureThetexture of the statue is smooth. The upper part of the sculpture issmooth and evenly textured, bringing out the definite features of thePharaoh. The lower part however is relatively rough and incomparableto the upper part. Some of the parts appear to have been smooth buthave become rough with time, like the upper part of the stomach.

EmphasisThesculptor gives emphasis to the facial expressions and the bodymuscular make-up of the Pharaoh. My main focus is on the face andhead portions that are used to display the common features of aPharaoh. The sculptor ensured that the face was filled with all thefeature required to make the face more human. Compared to the legs,the face gives finer and more defined features. Contrast/VarietyThestatue has varying black and white. The bulging regions are lighterwhile the normal regions are filled with black. The lightening ofcertain regions bring an impression of the effect of light on themore toned parts of the body to the reader. Upon viewing the statue,the viewer immediately gets the thought of strength and good healthof a royalty.

RhythmTheeyes of the viewer move from the face to the chest, then to thestomach and rests on the muscular arms. The artist accomplished thisby repeating the pattern of lighter color in order to indicate thatsuch regions are composed of strong muscles. This makes one wish toknow just how strong all the other parts appear in comparison to thevery detailed parts. The eye is then attracted to the stomach that isalso well defined.

Unity/HarmonyApartfrom contrast, there is also harmony in the picture, both in theregions that have black as dominant as well as in the regions thatmix black and white. Harmony is especially seen in the arm muscleswhere white color runs from the shoulder region to the elbow regionto help reveal the veins and evident muscles. As a result of theharmony, the image is not chaotic at all.4.INTERPRETATION

SubjectThestatue is historical showing the history of the Ancient Egypt. Theartist was trying to preserve the history of Ancient Egypt. Thescribbling on the seat is also obviously religious, symbolizing thereligious significance of a Pharaoh. It is a still life that is usedto give an impression of the lifestyle of the Pharaoh. The sculpturewas created to create the mood of respect and adoration for thePharaoh. It was painted in black and white and made smooth to portraythe Pharaohs as real human beings and not next to the gods. Thestatue of the Pharaoh was created to symbolize how the pharaohs ofthe Middle Kingdom were going to restore Egypt back to the old times.

FunctionThematerial has no function except it can be used as decoration for thecourtyard. It can be used in the front of a public library to showhow historic the library is. It can also be installed in front of acity gate to represent the strong and healthy, yet historic nature ofthe city.ContentThespecific details of the muscles on the body of the pharaoh conveyideas about the strength of the leader. The frown on the face revealsthat leaders should be stern, but the look of concern that the leaderadopts in his eyes reveal that leaders of the old times in Egypt werealso concerned about the affairs of their subjects. The intact natureof the material also reveals so that there was relatively some peaceand calm in the Egypt during and after the making of the statue tomaturity.


Thisis a splendid work that is way modern that the time when it was made.An image of the nature would be expected in the 19th Century A.D.when more sophisticated sculpting techniques began to exist. Thesuccess of this work is how it gives fine details about the face ofthe leaders. It looks very realistic and can be compared to thefeatures of the real human being. However, the disproportionatelylarge legs are spoiling the perfection of the statue. Considering howperfectly the upper torso is portrayed, looking at the legs gives adisappointing contrast. The broken arm is one very repulsive elementto the eye. It gives one a feeling of imperfection and mutilation.The full arm and the stomach are however very attractive with theirperfection and fine details. They show a mixture of beauty andperfection, it is for this reason that I chose the piece.6.RESEARCH/BIBLIOGRAPHY

Thecolossal statue of a pharaoh idealizes a seated pharaoh. The statueis almost 10.5 feet (Arts Summary, 2015). It is found in the mainlobby of the Metropolitan Museum, Berlin. The manner of sculpting washighly polished. This method is the same as the statues of theexquisite statues of the Old Kingdom (Voves,2015). It is possible to assume that the mighty Pharaoh whosits in splendor in the lobby of the Metropolitan Museum represents agiven level of continuity between the Old Kingdoms and the MiddleKingdoms. However, that was not what happened (Voves,2015). There were cultural, political and artistic aspects to theEgyptian society breakdown during the First IntermediatePeriod. It is during that period that the exacting skillsthat were necessary in fine arts and architecture disappeared. Thisoccurred to a point that most of these skills needed relearning orthere would be no link to the past art and architecture. The artistswho learnt these skills went ahead and applied modern skills to theold learned ones to come up with splendid models (Voves,2015).


ArtsSummary,. (2015). AncientEgypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom at The Metropolitan Museum ofArt, October 12, 2015 – January 24, 2016.Retrieved 3 December 2015, from

Oppenheim,A., Arnold, D., Arnold, D., &amp Yamamoto, K. AncientEgypt transformed.

Voves,E. (2015). ArtEyewitness: Ancient Egypt Transformed: the Middle Kingdom at theMetropolitan 3 December 2015, from