Menkaure and His Queen Essay

This essay has a total of 764 words and 4 pages.

Menkaure and His Queen



The sculpture group of King Menkaure and His Queen is positioned in one of the basic types
of Egyptian sculpture – the Standing/Striding pose. The figure of Menkaure is rigidly
frontal, although his head is slightly turned to the right. His left foot is slightly
advanced, however the upper body does not respond to this uneven distribution of weight -
there is no tilt in the shoulders, nor a shift in the hips. All movement of the figure is
suppressed: his muscular arms hang down his athletic body, they are not flexed at the
elbow and do not break through the front contour of his thighs. The body remains wedded
to the block of stone from which it was carved. The artist does not remove the “dead
stone” between the arms and torso and most importantly his advanced leg is not carved in
the round, which contributes to the solid and majestic appearance of the statue.

The Queen assumes the same rigidly frontal posture, however her left leg is less advanced
than his, which alludes that she is a subordinate figure to her king – in this stance she
is just echoing the pharaoh’s decisive actions. She embraces the pharaoh with her right
arm placing her hand around his waist; her left arm is bent at the elbow and covering her
stomach rests on the king’s left arm.

There is a space of about couple of centimeters between the statues that widens towards
the base, and which makes Menkaure appear standing independently from his female
counterpart. In this frontal, striding forward posture the pharaoh looks confident and in
control. The Queen, however, cannot be thought of as an independent statue. First of
all, the statue of the king overlaps that of the queen: her right shoulder becomes fused
with and overlapped by his left shoulder. Second of all, she has both of her arms around
him and not the other way around. Although her appearance conveys the message of majesty
and serenity, to me she also appears to be a subordinate figure to that of King Menkaure.
Perhaps, this is due to the fact that she stands a step behind him, is being overlapped by
his figure and she is the one embracing the pharaoh.

The statue group is left unfinished. The most finished parts are the heads, torsos, and
king’s feet. The queen’s feet were carved out and left unpolished. The side view of the
group offers a great contrast between the rough texture of the stone and its polished one.
The back slab goes up to the shoulders of the figures without revealing their backs. It
carries a supportive structure for the statues and is not touched up by the artist. This
could be indicative of two things: either the group was simply unfinished or was meant to
be placed in the niche or stand against a corridor wall.

At first sight the facial features of the figures seem to be idealized, but upon closer
examination one realizes that they are highly individualized. The face of the pharaoh
takes on a squarish shape, his eyes are not deeply set in within their sockets, the nose
is short and turned up, the lips are full, the cheeks are protruding, his ears are rather
prominent. The queen’s face is round and fleshy. The almond-shaped eyes, snub-nose,
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