“The Beautiful Woman has Come”

The bust of Nefertiti. The sculpture is believed to have been made by Thutmose in 1345 B.C.E. Photo after:http://www.browsebiography.com/bio-nefertiti.html, last accessed 23.06.2021, 14:52.

It is not a strange scene to see all the visitors standing in amazement around the fascinating limestone sculpture of the queen which testifies for her beauty as much as her Egyptian birth name that means “The Beautiful Woman has Come”.

The bust of Nefertiti was not only carefully and skilfully sculpted using some stone and colours, but it is also showing the rare observation and understanding of an artist that knows that angles, shades and texture are just as important. The level of detail that the eye keeps discovering little by little as you revolve around the sculpture without ever being bored with is another testimony to how much the maker appreciated the viewer as much as he appreciated the beauty of a queen. A beauty that has been delicately represented as elegant and majestic yet compassionate at the same time. It is seldom that I come across an engaging work of art that I don’t notice a consideration of shadows, movement and expressive details in it which makes you not only see something but also feel as well.
As an architect, I cannot stop myself comparing the way different forms of arts communicate with people and how much we are missing to learn, use and give enough time to consider it before we quickly fall in love with our charcoal hand sketches or even the computer filtered images that are used mainly for marketing a product to the client. I am not against the tools themselves; it is just the knowledge and purpose standing behind them that always frightens me. I think it is dangerous, very dangerous to neglect the fact that we as humans are continuously affected by our surroundings.

On the other hand, it is not a completely surprising result to find this rush to produce an iconic shape of a building in architecture studios and faculties that have studied and honoured “iconic architects” instead of learning more about the human; for whom we design. Two or three brief research findings about our humankind might help to clarify. Different studies revealed that our well-being is proven to be affected by the quality of the built environment(1), our decision making is mainly relying on our intuitive feelings rather than rational thinking(2), and that our cognition is actually embodied; we think with the body and not the mind(3).

Personally, I learn a lot more when I go out, explore and experience how is it like to be there on the spot observing the different artistic, architectural, and even natural elements surrounding me. As an architect, “the more you experience, the more you learn” Steven Holl says. Hence, I owe my teachers; the creators of intriguing works of all kinds-like that of the bust of Nefertiti-what I now have come to know. Unlike what you might think, the magnificent piece is now sadly not in one of the Egyptian museums. The bust that we hope it makes it to its homeland is in the Neues Museum in Germany, where it remains as one of the masterpieces and main visitor attractions as long as the Egyptian right for ownership is continuously denied by the German authorities.

References:

  1. Kellert, S.R., Heerwagen, J. and Mador, M., 2011. Biophilic design: the theory, science and practise of bringing buildings to life. John Wiley & Sons.
  2. Oppong, T., 2020. Psychologists Explain How Emotions, Not logic, Drive Human Behaviour  Medium. URL https://medium.com/personal-growth/psychologists-explain-how-emotions-not-logic-drive-human-behaviour-6ed0daf76e1a (accessed 2.4.21).
  3. Niedenthal, P.M., 2007. Embodying emotion. science316(5827), pp.1002-1005.

 

 

 

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