1340 BC

Less Is More – Nefertiti's Beauty-Secret

Neues Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

From the #HistoryOfUs series: Bust of Nefertiti, c. 1340 BCE

Bust of Queen Nefertiti, Thutmosis, Amenophis IV. / Echnaton, New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty, c. 1340 BCE, From the collection of: Neues Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Take fewer Snapchat filters – that’s the secret! You can find the most famous example in this bust of Nefertiti. You think this is exactly what Nefertiti looked like? Think again. This doesn’t show the real person but is more an idealised image of what an Egyptian queen should look like.

Antique cast of a statue head of Akhenaten, Artist unknown, 18th Dynasty, um 1340 v. Chr., From the collection of: Neues Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Even blurring genders! Nefertiti looks pretty much like her husband Akhenaton here – look at her eyes and her even facial features. Astounding!

Bust of Queen Nefertiti, Thutmosis, From the collection of: Neues Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

And yet something very special has been created here, and that’s what makes this bust different from other, often overdrawn, images of the queen – Nefertiti is depicted as a mature with gentle folds under her eyes ...

Bust of Queen Nefertiti, Thutmosis, From the collection of: Neues Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

... dimples around her chin and slightly sunken cheeks. That's what makes her so unique. Less Snapchat filter is more!

Bust of Queen Nefertiti, Thutmosis, From the collection of: Neues Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Nefertiti’s beauty is legendary. Even in 1912, when the bust was found, she was in tune with the taste of the times. (The Egyptologist Ludwig Borchardt, who found her, was completely enchanted; he wrote, “Describing her is useless, you have to see her!”) And that’s still true today.
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Credits: Story

#HistoryOfUs series

Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not represent the views of the institutions whose collections include the featured works or of Google Arts & Culture.
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