An analysis of Mycerinus and Kha-merer-nebty II and Augustus of Primaporta, reveals that there are many similarities, but also many differences between these two pieces of sculpture. These similarities and differences are found in the subject, style, and function of both works of art.
In regards to subject matter, both pieces of sculpture are of leaders, Mycerinus and Kha-merer-nebty II were the pharaoh and queen of Egypt around 2500 BCE., and Caesar Augustus was the Emperor of Rome from September 23, 63 BCE to August 19, 14 CE., shown in this work as a general from Primaport, Italy.
Both figures are in a very traditional, standing pose for the time period in which they were created. The sculpture of Augustus is based on the Greek classical statue of the Spear Bearer or Doryphoros by Polykleitos. He is standing in contrapposto, a very classical standing pose wherein the weight of the body is shifted naturally so the figure’s weight is more on one leg, with the other leg slightly bent behind and the hips tilted. Mycerinus and Kha-merer-nebty II are both in the standard Egyptian canon standing pose, in which the figures are rigidly frontal with the pharaoh’s arms down at his sides and fists clenched. Like Augustus, one leg is slightly ahead and one is behind, but there is no contrapposto, the figure’s weight is shared equally by both legs and the hips are squared and level.
The pieces of sculpture are both carved using the subtractive method of sculpting from stone. However, the types of stone used were very different. The sculpture of Mycerinus and Kha-merer-nebty II was carved from a stone called greywacke, a dark colored, very hard stone the Egyptians prized for sculpture despite the fact that it was difficult to carve. This was because it is long lasting and symbolized permanence and eternity. The sculpture of Augustus on the other hand, was carved from marble which is white and rather soft and easy to carve when first quarried, then gets harder as it ages.
Also, both pieces of sculpture portray the subject as idealized, young, and god-like. They have perfectly proportioned, well-developed bodies, with flawless, youthful faces (regardless of the actual age or appearance of the ruler at the time they were created). In fact, Augustus demanded that he always be shown as a youthful, god-like head of state who never aged. Even toward the end of his life (he lived to the age of 76)...