The Amarna period
Already in his first years king Amenhotep IV, the son of Amenhotep III built at Karnak a huge temple, dedicated to the sun god as the disk Aten.
In his sixth year the king moved his capital/residential city to Middle Egypt, to a place which is called today Amarna. The ancient name is Akhet-Aten. Amenhotep IV changed his own name to Akhenaten. The cult of the sun god Aten became the main religion of his reign. At an unknown point in his reign, the names and images of the god Amun and his consort Mut were erased on all accessible monuments throughout Egypt and Nubia. The king and his family formed the focus point of many altars found in houses of Amarna, showing Aten (the sun disk) extending life to the royal family by sun rays ending in hands.
Remarks on Amarna Art
The art of the Amarna period selects different subject matter, and uses different proportions, that found in Egyptian art in other periods. Although the underlying rules of Egyptian art are still maintained, the proportions of the human body are significantly different, presumably reflecting in some way the appearance of Akhenaten himself. The king was shown with an extended belly, wide hips, thin, short legs, thin arms and a distinctive face.
(click on the images for a larger picture)
The figure of queen Nefertiti is similarly 'expressionistic' at the beginning of the Amarna period though depictions of her later in the reign are less exaggerated.
Copyright © 2002 University College London. All rights reserved.