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Exploration Document Kimberly S. Berry HUM200 Cultural Artifacts My first work is the Bust of Nefertiti, created by Thutmose, the court sculptor to the Egyptian King Akhenaten. The bust, although unfinished, was created in approximately 1345 BC in the ancient Egyptian city of Akhetaten, now known as Amarna and portrays Akhenaten's Queen, Nefertiti, who ruled along side him during his reign from 1353 BC to 1336 BC. It is made of painted stucco over limestone, stands about 1' foot 7" and currently resides in the Neues Museum in Berlin. My second work is Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece, The Mona Lisa. Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) was a painter, architect, inventor and student of science in Florence, Italy and is considered one of the most accomplished Renaissance painters of all time. The painting is oil on an oak panel, is approximately 2' 6" x 1' 9" and was created between 1503–1517, as a commissioned portrait of the wife of Francesco del Giocondo, Lisa. The Mona Lisa currently resides in the Louvre Museum, Paris. Common Theme The common theme shared by these two works of art, is feminine mystery, beauty and influence through the women they represent. The Bust of Nefertiti represents Queen Nefertiti. Often referred to as dazzlingly beautiful and mysterious, her name itself, Egyptian for "a beautiful woman has come," Queen Nefertiti reigned along side her husband as co-regent of Egypt, helped start a religious revolution, and raised six daughters, two of whom would become queens and a stepson, who would one day become the most famous King in Egyptian history, 1
King Tutankhamen. Queen Nefertiti is thought to be one of the most beautiful and powerful women in ancient Egypt. The Mona Lisa is also said to be one of the most beautiful women in the world. Leonardo de Vinci's masterful skill and vision of the natural beauty in all women, imbued Mona Lisa with a sense of mystery and romance, so much so, that Théophile Gautier, a french poet, dramatist and novelist, wrote that the Mona Lisa was a "sphinx of beauty who smiles so mysteriously, and, that beneath the form expressed, one feels a thought that is vague, infinite and is inexpressible. One is moved and troubled with repressed desires. With hopes that drive one to despair and stir painfully." (1859) Personal Experience As a woman, it is important to me to be able to look to powerful female figures that embody the values I find most important. These women were mothers and wives. One was an important political figure and the other a business woman, both, the very essence of femininity and beauty. Nefertiti became one of the six most influential female figures in ancient Egypt. She ruled Egypt, while raising her family, always maintaining her beauty and air of mystery, and, using it to her advantage. Nefertiti empowers young women today by serving as an example that you can be an independent powerful woman and still be a mother and wife. Mona Lisa is seen as one of the most beautiful women in the world, yet, she’s not conventionally attractive. Her beauty comes

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