Johannes Anton Rädecker, also simply known as John, was a Dutch artist active during the first half of the 20th century.
Skilled craftman and painter, Rädecker gained international fame with his expressionist sculpture. He was part of the New Circle (De Nieuwe Kring or Bergense School), a community of artists based in Bergen where he lived since 1916.
During his career he was commissioned to produce several public monuments, of which the most famous is undoubtedly the National Monument (Nationaal Monument op de Dam) in Amsterdam. This memorial, located in the heart of the city's historical centre in Dam Square, honours the casualties of World War II and was designed by Rädecker in 1946. Unfortunately the artist never saw his masterpiece completed as the monument was revealed only in May 1956, a few months after his death.
With her sinuous silhouette, high slender waist and extremely elongated fingers, this large female figure would have represented the canons of idealised beauty during the Old Kingdom.
Given the size and quality of this figure, it is likely that it represented the wife of the deceased, a high-ranking woman, despite the obvious lack of clothing. According to Edna Russmann ‘while it is rather surprising that some male tomb owners of the late Old Kingdom and First Intermediate Period chose to have tomb statues that represented them naked and thus deprived of the status indicators of their clothing, it seems astonishing that women of high social rank, during this period, sometimes did the same’, cf. E. R. Russmann (ed.), Eternal Egypt. Masterworks of Ancient Art from the British Museum, London, 2001, pp. 79-80, no. 11. This practice seems specific to the late Old Kingdom but in some measure survives until the Middle Kingdom.
Whilst often described as fertility figures, the function of nude female figures could vary from servant girl or offering bearer, to dancer and indeed concubine. For another smaller nude female figure in wood (40.5 cm high) with similar characteristics and uncertain purpose, cf. R. Fazzini, Images for Eternity. Egyptian Art from Berkeley and Brooklyn, The Brooklyn Museum, 1975, p. 37, cat. 28.
By the New Kingdom, however, the latter seems to become the most common, cf. A. K. Capel & G. E. Markoe (ed.), Mistress of the House. Mistress of Heaven, New York, 1997, p. 66, no. 15.