Statue of King Ptolemy III Euergetes I
Ptolemaic Period (332-30 BC)
H. 85 cm ; W. 32.3 cm ; D. 39.1 cm
Acquired by Rodin on 4 March 1908 from the antiquarian Spiridon Castellanos.
This now fragmentary royal statue with a dorsal pillar was dedicated to the cult of King Ptolemy III Euergetes I, the “Benefactor”, the third sovereign of the Ptolemaic dynasty from Macedonia, who ruled over Egypt from 246 BC to 221 BC.
The figure, represented in the act of walking, wears a loincloth, or schenti, held up by a belt. On his upper chest, there are traces of a pendant that may have been adorned with an image of the goddess Maat.The three columns of hieroglyphs on the dorsal pillar sing the king’s praises.
The work was chosen by Joseph Altounian in 1912. The quality of this block of compact stone, enlivened by the effects of light and shadow on the loincloth and dorsal pillar, no doubt appealed to Rodin who was so fond of the “hieratic quality” of Egyptian art and the “geometric austerity of nature” (Rodin in Canudo, 1913).