The 12th Dynasty was the most important period of the Middle Kingdom. Its founder, Amenemhat I, vizier to the last Mentuhotep (11th Dynasty), usurped the throne. His greatest challenge was to reintegrate the two parts of the country, Upper and Lower Egypt, which had split and subsequently grown apart during the First Intermediate Period. Specially, he had to rechannel disparate spiritual movements.
Amenemhat's successors too, were concerned with strengthening the power of the throne and establishing political absolutism. In the royal sculpture done under the reigns of Sesostris III and his son, Amenemhet III, these aspirations are stylistically evident in the hard realistic features and serious expressions. The impressive royal head is, because of its style, attributed to Sesostris III and is one of the most magnificent portraits of this ruler.
Part of a Red Granite statue of Senusret III
The Fitzwilliam Museum, Trumpington Street, Cambridge, UK