- Museum number
Portrait of a military officer in encaustic and tempera, probably on oak: the right panel is split by fissures. The right side and lower left corner are restored in plain wood. The background is painted sandy brown; the lower edge of the panel is unpainted. Traces of mastic survive at the left edge. Some of the painted surface is lost.
Portrayed is a military officer dressed in a creamy tunic with an olive 'sagum' draped over his left shoulder and around the back of the neck. Beneath it is a red balteus ornamented with gold. The 'sagum' is pinned with a gold fibula.
The subject has brown curly hair and a full moustache and beard, grown in the style of Lucius Verus (ruled jointly with Marcus Aurelius, ad 161-9). The bushy arched eyebrows give an air of surprise. The brown eyes are round and protruding, the nose very long and the lips full. The skin was originally painted in warm tones of brown, cream and red.
- Production date
- 160-170 (circa)
Height: 55.40 centimetres (Storgsge board)
Height: 43.70 centimetres
Width: 32 centimetres (storage board)
Width: 13.80 centimetres
Depth: 1.50 centimetres (storage board)
Depth: 4.30 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- This is one of a series of portraits of military officers of second-century date. The subject wears the 'balteus' over his left shoulder, an unusual feature perhaps indicating elevated status, also suggested by the quality of the original portrait, which the original owner of the portrait, Theodor Graf, believed to represent Ptolemy Soter.
K. Parlasca, 'Ritratti di Mummie'. In A. Adriani (ed.), 'Repertorio d'arte dell'Egitto greco-romano'. 2 ser. II (1977), 50 no. 330 (bibl.), pl. 80.1;
E. Doxiadis, 'The Mysterious Fayum Portraits. Faces from Ancient Egypt' (1995), 24, 118 no. 18;
B. Borg, ‘Mumienporträts. Chronologie und kulterelle Kontext (1996), 75f, 107, 156ff, pl. 14.1;
Doxiadis 1998, 144 no. 29, pl. p. 89;
M. F. Aubert and R. Cortopassi 'Portraits de l'Égypte Romaine' (1998), 144-5 no. 89;
Parlasca and Seeman 1999, 184-5 no- 86.
S. Walker and M. Bierbrier, 'Fayum. Misteriosi volti dall'Egitto', London 1997, p. 121 .
S. Walker, 'Ancient Faces', New York 2000, pp. 80-81 .
- Bibliographic references
Doxiadis 1995 / The mysterious Fayum portraits: faces from ancient Egypt. (18)
Walker & Bierbrier 1997 / Ancient Faces (88)
Paris 1998 / Portraits de l'Egypte Romaine : Paris, Musee du Louvre, 5 Octobre 1998 - 4 Janvier 1999. (no.89)
Walker, S 2000 / Ancient Faces: Mummy Portraits from Roman Egypt (40)
Parlasca & Seeman 1999 / Augenblicke. Mumienporträts und ägyptische Grabkunst aus römischer Zeit (p.184, no.86)
Newman et al 2013 / The study and conservation of four ancient Egyptian funerary portraits: provenance, conservation history and structural treatment (p.1-13, p.2, fig.1, p.4, table.1, p.5, fig.3, p.9, fig.8, p.10, fig.9, p.11, fig.10) (Portrait B)
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1997 22 Oct-1998 30 Apr, Italy, Rome, Fondaione Memmo, Ancient Faces
2018 23 Feb – 22 Apr, Nashville, Frist Art Museum, 'Rome; City &Empire'
2018-2019 20 Sep-04 Feb, Canberra, National Museum of Australia, 'Rome; City &Empire'
- incomplete - right side and lower left corner restored
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Formerly of the Graf Collection, then from 1893 in that of Dr Ludwig Mond and later Sir Robert Mond, at whose bequest it came to the British Museum.
- Egypt and Sudan
- BM/Big number
- Registration number