The art of sculpture in the New Kingdom reached a new height. The severe stylization of the Old Kingdom and the bitter realism of the Middle Kingdom were replaced with a courtly style combining a sense of nobility with a careful attention to delicate detail. Begun in the reigns of Hatshepsut and Thutmose III, this style reached a maturity in the time of Amenhotep III that was never again equaled in Egypt. Portraits of rulers were imbued with grace and sensitivity, as were depictions of the courtiers.
The art of the time of Akhenaton, son of Amenhotep III, reflects the religious revolution this king set into motion. Akhenaton worshiped Aton, the sun god, and he believed art should have a new direction. Early in his reign a realism bordering on caricature was employed, but this developed into a style with a subtle beauty and a deep sense of feeling, qualities embodied in the painted limestone head (circa 1365 BC, Staatliche Museen, Berlin) of Nefertiti, Akhenaton's queen.
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