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  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Portrait of a young man in encaustic on limewood, with a gilded stucco frame: the panel is fissured in the centre from top to bottom. The surface of the gilt frame is very crazed, but the original vine-scroll decoration is visible in places, as is the reddish bole beneath. The frame surrounds the background in greenish grey, but does not extend over the painted drapery. A band, perhaps of shellac, extends across the bottom of the panel.
    The subject wears a white tunic with pink clavus, the seam below the shoulder shown as darker pink bands. Over the proper left shoulder is a white mantle, which extends to the back of the neck but it is not shown on the proper right side. The dark brown hair is abundant and curly, with long whiskers in front of the ears, almost joined to a thin beard. Above the full red lips is a moustache. All the facial hair, including the eyebrows, is painted in a lighter brown. The hazel eyes are large and rounded, with prominent upper lashes. The skin is painted in warm pinks and umbers, with thick strokes in a lighter shade.


  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 150-170
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 42.7 centimetres
    • Width: 22.2 centimetres
    • Thickness: 0.4 centimetres
  • Curator's comments

    There is a slight resemblance to the Emperor Lucius Verus (AD 161-9), and in general the portrait typifies images of young adult males of the middle years of the second century AD.

    W. M. F. Petrie, 'The Hawara Portfolio: Paintings of the Roman Age' (1913), pl. 28;
    A. F. Shore, 'Portrait Painting from Roman Egypt' 2 ed. (1972), pl. 10;
    K. Parlasca, 'Ritratti di Mummie'. In A. Adriani (ed.), 'Repertorio d'arte dell'Egitto greco-romano'. 2 ser. I (1969), 80, no. 198 (bibl.), pl. 48, 4;
    E. Doxiadis, 'The Mysterious Fayum Portraits. Faces from Ancient Egypt' (1995), 203, no. 61;
    B. Borg, ‘Mumienporträts. Chronologie und kulterelle Kontext (1996), 80, 129, 166;
    Doxiadis 1998, 140 no. 18 with pl. p. 58;
    M. F. Aubert and R. Cortopassi 'Portraits de l'Égypte Romaine' (1998), 46, 49 no. II;
    Parlasca and Seeman 1999, 137 no. 39.
    S. Walker and M. Bierbrier, 'Ancient Faces' (1997), 70-1 (47)
    S. Walker and M. Bierbrier, 'Fayum. Misteriosi volti dall'Egitt'o, London 1997, p. 90 [64].
    'Portraits: De l’Egypte Romaine', Paris 1998, pp.46, 49 [11].
    S. Walker, 'Ancient Faces', New York 2000, p. 61 [22].
    Temples and Tombs (American Federation of Arts, 2006): 131, cat no. 85


  • Bibliography

    • Walker, S 2000 22 bibliographic details
    • Walker & Bierbrier 1997 47 bibliographic details
    • Paris 1998 no.11 bibliographic details
    • Parlasca & Seeman 1999 p.137, no.39 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display

  • Exhibition history


    1997 22 Oct-1998 30 Apr, Italy, Rome, Fondaione Memmo, Ancient Faces
    2003 17 Jul-12 Oct, Valencia, Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno, The Eyesight and the Vision
    2006 7 Sept-26 Nov, Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Temples & Tombs
    2006 21 Dec-2007 18 Mar, Jackonsville, Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, Temples & Tombs
    2007 15 Apr-8 Jul, Raleigh, North Carolina Museum of Art, Temples & Tombs
    2007 16 Nov-2008 10 Feb, New Mexico, Albuquerque Museum, Temples & Tombs
    2009 24 Sept-2010 17 Jan, Rome, Scuderie del Quirinale, Pituura Romana
    2011 30 May-24 Jul. Spain,Madrid, Museo Arqueologico Nacional. 'Retratos de le Fayum'. Bussac, Claude.

  • Condition

    fair - central vertical crack

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    Formerly National Gallery 1261. 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


  • Registration number


  • Additional IDs

    • National Gallery 1261
Round-topped limewood panel bearing an encaustic portrait of a bearded young man with curly hair; white tunic with pink clavus and a white mantle; gilded stucco frame; central fissure from top to bottom.

Round-topped limewood panel bearing an encaustic portrait of a bearded young man with curly hair; white tunic with pink clavus and a white mantle; gilded stucco frame; central fissure from top to bottom.

Image description



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Object reference number: YCA60736

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