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mummy-portrait

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    EA74707

  • Description

    Portrait of a young man in encaustic on limewood: a vertical fissure runs through the panel from top to bottom, with slighter splits on either side. The painting is otherwise well preserved. The background is creamy grey.

    The youth wears a creamy-white tunic and mantle; a narrow mauve clavus appears on the proper right side of the tunic. The mantle is draped over both shoulders. The brush-strokes suggest thick folds of cloth, though the line of the tunic is visible on the proper right shoulder.
    The hair is very curly, with strands escaping from the edge of the coiffure. The beard is very short and trimmed square around the chin and cheekbones.

    The eyebrows are very long, as are the prominent upper lashes over the slanting brown eyes. The red lips are closed and turn down beneath a narrow moustache. The flesh is painted in warm honey tones with touches of pink and cream highlights on the nose and chin.

    More 

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 70-120
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 38.3 centimetres
    • Width: 22.8 centimetres
  • Curator's comments

    The style of the beard may be a sign of early (Flavian-Trajanic) date. The mouth and chin give the painting an unsatisfactory appearance, but this is more likely to represent a facial disability, in 1999 recognised as a hemiatrophy, rather than any inability on the part of the painter, who is in other respects competent.

    Bibliography:
    W. M. F. Petrie, 'Hawara, Biahmu and Arsinoe' (1889), 46;
    A. F. Shore, 'Portrait Painting from Roman Egypt' 2 ed. (1972) pl. 9;
    K. Parlasca, 'Ritratti di Mummie'. In A. Adriani (ed.), 'Repertorio d'arte dell'Egitto greco-romano'. 2 ser. I (1969), p. 79 [194] (bibl.), pl. 47, 4;
    B. Borg, ‘Mumienporträts. Chronologie und kulterelle Kontext (1996), 79, 105;
    E. Doxiadis 1998, 140 no. 19 with pl. p. 63;
    M. F. Aubert and R. Cortopassi 'Portraits de l'Égypte Romaine' (1998), p. 106 [57] with pl. p. 109;
    Parlasca and Seeman 1999, 134-5 no. 36.
    S. Walker and M. Bierbrier, 'Fayum. Misteriosi volti dall'Egitto', London 1997, p. 75 [46].
    'Portraits: De l’Egypte Romaine', Paris 1998, pp.106, 109 [57].
    S. Walker, 'Ancient Faces', New York 2000, p. 44 [6].

    More 

  • Bibliography

    • Walker & Bierbrier 1997 21 bibliographic details
    • Walker, S 2000 6 bibliographic details
    • Paris 1998 no.57 bibliographic details
  • Exhibition history

    Exhibited:

    1997 15 Oct-1998 30 Apr, Italy, Rome, Fondazione Memmo, Ancient Faces
    2006 Sept-2008 Sept, Wallsend, Segedunum Roman Fort & Baths Museum, Egypt Revealed
    2009, May-Long term, Newcastle, Great North Museum, Egyptian Gallery

  • Condition

    fair - vertical fissure

  • Conservation

    See treatments 

    Treatment date

    21 August 1996

    Treatment proposal

    Clean, fix flakes.

    Condition

    Light surface dirt and some lifting flakes on surface. Fixed to wooden board with animal glue, much excess glue along edges .

    Treatment details

    Loose dust disturbed with a sable brush and removed with a low suction vacuum cleaner fitted with a flexible rubber tube. Ingrained dirt removed with 0.5% Synperonic N (non ionic detergent, nonylphenol ethylene oxide condensate) in distilled water on cotton wool swabs. This technique was also used to remove the unsightly excess of animal glue. Flaking area stabilised using 20% Vinamul 3252 (vinyl acetate,ethylene copolymer) in distilled water applied with small brush. Removed excess with white paper tissue.

    About these records 

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1994

  • Acquisition notes

    Excavated 1888 by Petrie at Hawara (Petrie u) This portrait was presented to the National Gallery in 1888 by H Martyn Kennard. See information from the NG on file [Nov 2005, NCS]. AES Archive 548.

  • Department

    Ancient Egypt & Sudan

  • BM/Big number

    EA74707

  • Registration number

    1994,0521.5

  • Additional IDs

    • National Gallery 1264
Portrait of a young man in encaustic on limewood: a vertical fissure runs through the panel from top to bottom, with slighter splits on either side. The painting is otherwise well preserved. The background is creamy grey.

The youth wears a creamy-white tunic and mantle; a narrow mauve clavus appears on the proper right side of the tunic. The mantle is draped over both shoulders. The brush-strokes suggest thick folds of cloth, though the line of the tunic is visible on the proper right shoulder.
The hair is very curly, with strands escaping from the edge of the coiffure. The beard is very short and trimmed square around the chin and cheekbones.

The eyebrows are very long, as are the prominent upper lashes over the slanting brown eyes. The red lips are closed and turn down beneath a narrow moustache.  The flesh is painted in warm honey tones with touches of pink and cream highlights on the nose and chin.

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Object reference number: YCA60731

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