This emblematic statuary work of Ancient Egypt is currently exhibited at the National Archaeological Museum in Cairo.
This is a work made of calcite, which, as was customary in Antiquity, was later painted. Its dimensions are more or less natural, since it represents two seated figures, a man and a woman, and reaches a height of about 120 centimeters.
Rahotep and Nofret
The work was carried out during the Fourth Dynasty, and it is estimated that it was executed around the year 2,360 BC. In other words, it is contemporary with the great works of the Ancient Empire such as the Pyramids of Giza or the sculptures of Khafre or the Mikerinos Triad, which by the way are also exhibited in the Cairo museum.
And returning to this double portrait of Rahotep and Nofret it must be said that it was found in the city of Medium, although it is more than possible that the work came from the royal workshops, given the high quality of the work.
The two seated figures stand on a cubic base that acts as a seat and is extended by a parallelepiped that forms the back of that seat. Various hieroglyphs are drawn and painted on that back as usual. In fact, this is one more of the conventions that appear in this sculpture and that make it an exceptional example of what statuary was like at that time.Some works in which frontality prevails and where painting is very important, always applied in pure colors, with which there is no hesitation in coloring large surfaces with very powerful colors. Like here, where his whole body is brown and while the female skin is painted yellow.
The position of both bodies is established and very rigid. It is curious to see the clothes. Especially those of the man who wears only a small white skirt, which gives him a certain peasant air.
And regarding the faces they have a rather inexpressive gesture and yet they have some life thanks to the fact that the eyes were made with colorful vitreous paste, and in addition to that they outlined, outlined the eyes with a style that has almost reached our days.
In the case of the woman, her entire face is framed by the typical Egyptian wig. And on that wig she wears a headband also full of colors, like her necklace. In both cases, headband and necklace, the truth is that they add heaviness to the figure.