Nefertiti means ‘A beautiful woman has come’ and her famous 3,400-year-old bust certainly portrays a type of aesthetic that pleases the eye.
Pure symmetrical beauty.
But...all is not what it seems. Researchers from Berlin’s Imaging Science Institute recently took a deeper look at her famous bust. After using tomographic technology, they revealed that the bust is made up of a limestone core which was then covered in layers of stucco.
This was quite a surprise as you may imagine. The inner facial cast, which was a direct model of the queen’s face, differs quite significantly to the final stucco layer. It has less prominent cheekbones, there is a slight and ‘imperfect bump’ on the ridge of her nose and there are even wrinkles on the corner of the mouth and cheeks. The eyelids are also shallower.
It seems that the final stucco layer was added by the famous sculptor, Thutmose. Maybe because Akhenaten or indeed Nefertiti herself wasn’t happy with the initial attempt. So extra layers were added to portray the queen in a more pleasing light.
An ancient touch-up.