Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Face attributed to Ptolemy II Philadelphos or a contemporary

Ptolemaic Period
Ptolemaic Dynasty
reign of Ptolemy II Philadelphos
285–246 B.C.
From Egypt, Memphite Region, Heliopolis (Iunu; On), Near the obelisk, BSAE excavations 1912
H. 16.2 cm (6 3/8 in.); W. 10.8 cm (4 1/4 in.); D. 6 cm (2 3/8 in.)
Credit Line:
Gift of The Egyptian Research Account and British School of Archaeology in Egypt, 1912
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 134
This very fine fragment from a large statue is attributed to the pharaoh Ptolemy II, or perhaps Ptolemy III, or possibly to a high official of those reigns. Unlike portraits of the 30th dynasty pharaohs and early Ptolemaic royal portraits that continue in that vein, the face shows rounded eyes, fleshy cheeks over suppressed bone structure, a broad mouth, and a knobby chin, features that specialists note may reflect early influence of Hellenistic art on Egyptian.
The face was excavated at Heliopolis.
Excavated by Petrie at Heliopolis with the sponsorship of the Egyptian Research Account and the British School of Archaeology in Egypt. Acquired in the division of finds. Given by the ERA and the BSAE to the Museum for its contribution to the excavations, 1912.

Petrie, William Matthew Flinders, Sir and Ernest J. H. MacKay 1915. Heliopolis, Kafr Ammar and Shurafa, Publications of the Egyptian Research Account and British School of Archaeology in Egypt, 24. p.6, pl. VI.

Metropolitan Museum of Art 1983. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. 1983. New York, p. 105, fig. 45.

Josephson, Jack A. 1995. Metropolitan Museum Journal, 30. New York, figs. 1, 2; no. 2.

Stanwick, Paul 2002. Portraits of the Ptolemies: Greek Kings as Egyptian Pharaohs. Austin, cat. A37, pp. 10, 68, 71, 104.

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