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Egyptian Art of the Armana Period

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Akhenaten and Nefertiti

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The art style of Akhenaten's reign changed as radically as his religious views. The artistic depictions of the royal family are exaggerated, strikingly different from the highly stylized art seen before. The art remains stylized but is quite different.

The royal family are shown with elongated skulls and pear-shaped bodies. Akhenaten is shown with a thin torso, protruding belly and wide hips, causing much speculation among Egyptologists. One early theory was that Akhenaten was actually a female pharaoh, shown as a man as was the earlier Queen Hatshepsut, but this idea has been discredited. Others have speculated that Akhenaten had physical abnormalities, such as Marfan Syndrome. This disease results in an elongated skull, wide hips and thighs and a cleft palate as well as other abnormalities. Close examination of King Tuthankamun, probably Akhenaten's son, show an elongated skull and cleft palate. Measurements of his loin cloths found in his tomb with him suggest that he also had unusually wide hips.

Instead of art depicting only the royal family engaged in important formal scenes, art of this period shows more ordinary day to day activities of the pharaoh, his wife, and their daughters.


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Great Hymn to Aten - Primary Source

Part of Monotheism in Egypt: The Cult of Akhenaten, a HistoryWiz exhibit

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