I paid a visit to the British Museum in May, and one of the pieces that caught my eye was this stunning New Kingdom representation of the goddess Hathor.
This is part of a larger composition from the mortuary temple of the 18th Dynasty pharaoh, Amenhotep III, in Thebes. The full composition consisted of a group statue: Amenhotep III seated between Hathor, and the god of the afterlife, Osiris. The lower portion of the group was found at the mortuary temple of Merenptah, the fourth pharaoh of the 19th Dynasty and a son of Ramesses II, or ‘Ramesses the Great’ as he is often known. The re-use of monuments by later pharaohs was common in ancient Egypt.
What struck me about this piece, aside from it’s mammoth stature (it is almost 1.5m in height), is the placid, gently smiling expression upon the face of the goddess. This expression is very typical of the Thutmosid style of art, and really exemplifies the beauty of the art of the period.
You can read more about the art of the New Kingdom in:
Robins, G. 1997. The art of ancient Egypt. London: The British Museum Press. 122 – 148.