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mummy-portrait

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    EA74718

  • Description

    Portrait of a man in encaustic on limewood: the panel is fissured from the upper edge through the proper right ear. It has been cut on the right-hand side. The lower edge is unpainted. The greyish background is obscured above the head by marks of wrappings. The wax was melted after excavation and a thin layer of paraffin wax applied.

    The garments are rendered impressionistically; the paint is unusually thick, and in places appears to have been applied with fingers. The subject wears a white tunic with violet clavi appearing on both sides. The white mantle is worn over the proper left shoulder and disappears behind the neck. The garments are drawn in pink, also used to shade the face and neck.

    The dark curly hair is cut close to the head. The eyebrows are lightly arched and the large eyes are unevenly set. The full, reddish-pink lips are turned down. Shading around the chin and cheeks suggests a swarthy appearance. The contour is carelessly drawn in brown.

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  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 80-100
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 42.5 centimetres
    • Width: 20.9 centimetres
    • Thickness: 0.2 centimetres
  • Curator's comments

    The rendering of the hair and the shape of the face recall portraits of the Emperor Titus (AD 79-81).

    Bibliography:
    W. M. F. Petrie, 'Hawara, Biahmu and Arsinoe' (1889), 46, pl. 10, 13;
    K. Parlasca, 'Ritratti di Mummie'. In A. Adriani (ed.), 'Repertorio d'arte dell'Egitto greco-romano'. 2 ser. I (1969), 39, no. 39 (bibl.), pl. 13, 1;
    E. Doxiadis, 'The Mysterious Fayum Portraits. Faces from Ancient Egypt' (1995), 196, no. 34;
    B. Borg, ‘Mumienporträts. Chronologie und kulterelle Kontext (1996), 72, 85, 97;
    E. Doxiadis 1998, 139 no. 11 with pl. p. 39;
    M. F. Aubert and R. Cortopassi 'Portraits de l'Égypte Romaine' (1998), pp. 102-03, no. 54;
    Parlasca and Seeman 1999, 115-16 no. 15.
    S. Walker and M. Bierbrier, 'Fayum. Misteriosi volti dall'Egitto', London 1997, p. 76 [47].
    'Portraits: De l’Egypte Romaine', Paris 1998, pp. 102-103 [52].
    S. Walker, 'Ancient Faces', New York 2000, pp. 45-46 [8].

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  • Bibliography

    • Walker & Bierbrier 1997 23 bibliographic details
    • Walker, S 2000 8 bibliographic details
    • Paris 1998 no.52 bibliographic details
    • Parlasca & Seeman 1999 p.115, no.15 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display

  • Exhibition history

    Exhibited:

    1997 22 Oct-1998 30 Apr, Italy, Rome, Fondaione Memmo, Ancient Faces
    2010 1 Feb-18 Jun, Essen- The Great Game.
    2011 30 May-24 Jul. Spain,Madrid, Museo Arqueologico Nacional. 'Retratos de le Fayum'. Bussac, Claude.

  • Condition

    fair

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1994

  • Acquisition notes

    Formerly National Gallery 3139. This portrait was bequeathed to the National Gallery in 1916 by Mr Algernon Brent. Described by his executors as an Egyptian portrait discovered by Doctor Flinders Petrie in Egypt, bequeathed to him by his late brother Cecil Brent FSA. See information from the NG on file [Nov 2005, NCS]. AES Archive 548.

  • Department

    Ancient Egypt & Sudan

  • BM/Big number

    EA74718

  • Registration number

    1994,0521.16

  • Additional IDs

    • National Gallery 3139
Portrait of a man in encaustic on limewood: the panel is fissured from the upper edge through the proper right ear. It has been cut on the right-hand side. The lower edge is unpainted. The greyish background is obscured above the head by marks of wrappings. The wax was melted after excavation and a thin layer of paraffin wax applied.    The garments are rendered impressionistically; the paint is unusually thick, and in places appears to have been applied with fingers. The subject wears a white tunic with violet clavi appearing on both sides. The white mantle is worn over the proper left shoulder and disappears behind the neck. The garments are drawn in pink, also used to shade the face and neck.    The dark curly hair is cut close to the head. The eyebrows are lightly arched and the large eyes are unevenly set. The full, reddish-pink lips are turned down. Shading around the chin and cheeks suggests a swarthy appearance. The contour is carelessly drawn in brown.

Portrait of a man in encaustic on limewood: the panel is fissured from the upper edge through the proper right ear. It has been cut on the right-hand side. The lower edge is unpainted. The greyish background is obscured above the head by marks of wrappings. The wax was melted after excavation and a thin layer of paraffin wax applied. The garments are rendered impressionistically; the paint is unusually thick, and in places appears to have been applied with fingers. The subject wears a white tunic with violet clavi appearing on both sides. The white mantle is worn over the proper left shoulder and disappears behind the neck. The garments are drawn in pink, also used to shade the face and neck. The dark curly hair is cut close to the head. The eyebrows are lightly arched and the large eyes are unevenly set. The full, reddish-pink lips are turned down. Shading around the chin and cheeks suggests a swarthy appearance. The contour is carelessly drawn in brown.

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