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Head Attributed to Arsinoe II

Period:
Ptolemaic Period
Reign:
reign of Ptolemy II and Arsinoe II
Date:
278–270 B.C.
Geography:
From Egypt, Memphite Region, Abu Rawash
Medium:
Limestone (Indurated)
Dimensions:
H. 12 cm (4 3/4 in); W. 9 cm (3 9/16 in); D. 9 cm (3 9/16 in)
Credit Line:
Gift of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, 1938
Accession Number:
38.10
  • Description

    This small head was created in the early part of the reign of the Macedonian Greek Ptolemies and is believed to depict Arsinoe II (278–270 B.C.), sister/wife of Ptolemy II, one of a line of religiously and politically important Ptolemaic queens.
    The delicate arc created by her brow bone over narrow slightly slanted eyes with long thin extensions is a style very closely related to that of Dynasty 30, the last of the traditional Egyptian pharaonic dynasties. The early Ptolemies made great efforts to show themselves as the inheritors of the pharaohs who had preceded them, continuing their building projects and closely adopting their style. At the same time, Ptolemaic queens served a much more role in the monarchy than did the queens of Dynasty 30, who are virtually unknown.
    Arsinoe II is shown in a style that is closely related to that of Dynasty 30, the last of the traditional Egyptian pharaonic dynasties. Indeed, the early Ptolemies made great efforts to show themselves as the inheritors of the pharaohs who had preceded them. At the same time, other motivations led to the creation of other types of royal images. Strongly Hellenistic images (2002.66), relate these rulers to the other Hellenistic kingdoms ruled by Alexander's successors around the Mediterranean. Other images depict the Ptolemaic rulers with mixed Egyptian and Hellenistic or particularly Ptolemaic elements (20.2.21).

  • Provenance

    Donated to the Museum by Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, 1938. Acquired by her in 1929 from Dikran Kelekian. Excavated by the French Institute at Abu Roash, 1922-23.

  • See also
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
547699

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