By: Britney Padgett
The sculpture of King Menkure and His Chief Queen is a well-known sculpture created in Ca. 2525 BC. However, the artist who created this amazing piece of work is unknown. This life-size sculpture was found in a hole below one of the floors in the king’s pyramid in Giza in the year of 1910. The sculpture is now on display at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. At this time the sculpture is in great condition, considering the time frame in which it was developed. I originally viewed this sculpture in The Western Humanities textbook on page 23. I also viewed several photographs on the web, one of which I included that is located at, http://www.TourEgypt.net/featurestories/fou rtqueens.htm. The sculpture, made of slate, depicts Menkure, who was a 4th dynasty ruler, and his chief queen. Menkure is posed in the usual Egyptian stance with fists clenched wearing a kilt and headdress. His chief queen is posed beside him on his left side in a more natural way. Her arm is rested around him. She is wearing a long garment to the length of her ankles. He and his chief queen are around the same height and size, making them more lifelike.
When looking at the sculpture you may say that it appears to be three dimensional. Both figures seem to pop out at you. The feet are very defined thus adding to this. The dimensionality used allows you to view the sculpture from both the left and right side and the front but not the back. The effect of this dimensionality is a more human, lifelike sculpture.
The sculptures mass is large and lifelike, the sculpture stands 4 feet 8 inches high. Both figures are approximately the same height, however this is odd for the time frame, most male figures were significantly larger than the female, thus showing power over the female. However the height of the chief queen had been thought to reflect her royal status.
The artist in creating this sculpture has used line and form consistent with the Egyptian time frame. The bodies anatomical shapes combined with naturalistic details not only reflect the tastes of Egyptians but also represent a fundamental character of Egyptian culture. Strong vertical lines and counterbalancing horizontals define King Menkure’s facial features as well as his legs and feet and the chief queen’s breasts and a hint of her stomach. These lines make the sculpture more like a photograph, lifelike, and show archeologists the time period in which the sculpture was created.
The texture of the sculpture, seemingly smooth on the bottom and back whereas the figures seem to be rougher, more textured helps a viewer, such as us, conclude that these figures were of royalty. They stand out and are viewed as strong figures.
Within the sculpture there are many important focal areas. The artist has created many areas of interest. Such as, the stance of the King, with his left foot forward and fists clenched. This shows the kings dominance and strength. The chief queen is to his left side, which is thought to be inferior to the right. She has her arm around the king’s waist showing she is there to encourage and support. The king’s head is turned a little to the right while the chief queen’s face is frontal, this shows she is presenting him to the world and supplying him with strength and confidence.
I am drawn to this sculpture because of the realistic features of it. I am very impressed with how the artist created both the man and woman at the same height in a time period where men were quite a bit larger than women to show their power. However, the height did not affect how the artist still portrayed the man’s dominance and strength. When I look at this sculpture I am reminded of the words “behind every great man there is a great woman”. This sculpture portrays the role a woman played. She stands beside the man, she encourages and supports him, and supply’s him with confidence and strength. My reaction to the sculpture is that of happiness, this is one of the first sculptures of the time period I have seen that portrays the man and woman as partners and equals.