Like every ancient piece of art, the basalt statue of Cleopatra was uniquely crafted to the specifications of its cultural origin and era. It was crafted around 51-30 B.C. (The British Museum) as a representation of the last Pharaoh of Egypt, one of the most influential ancient characters in modern times. A lot is yet to be learned about the statue, and one persistent path for analysis is in uncovering its significance. To this effect, historic and archaeological deductions have helped shed some light. Perhaps, more knowledge on the model character will help reveal some of the mysteries of the abstract elements surrounding the art.
The sculpture stands approximately forty-one inches high. Basalt, originally named as basaltes in Latin (Merriam-Webster), is a hard black igneous rock rich in both magnesium and iron. It makes up majority of the oceanic crust today and is formed just as tectonic plates pull apart. (Galleries). Compared to alternative crafting materials of that time (such as clay), Basalt is the most durable. The artist who carved this stunning sculpture of Cleopatra (69 BC – 30 BC) most likely used the stone carving technique to create the sculpture. 'Stone carving' is an ancient technique where pieces of rough natural stones are created through controlled skillful precision-based removals of stone pieces (Wikipedia 2014). The appropriate tools used in ancient Egypt to carve Basalts were made of bronze. The tools constituted straight saws, circular saws, tubular drills, and lathes, some of which could be up to 8 feet in length (Global education).
After examining the physical compositions of the piece, the goal of this paper will be to analyze the abstract constituents therein. Some background on the life of Cleopatra and her impact on the birthplace of the statue will be used to draw foundational significance. This will lead to answering the fundamental questions of what the basalt statue of Cleopatra represents.