Fayum mummy portraits is the name given to a large number of paintings from the first to third century. These are tempera or encaustic. “The Fayum portraits have an almost disturbing lifelike quality and intensity,” says Euphrosyne Doxiadis, an artist who lives in Athens and Paris and is the author. Fayum portrait, any of the funerary portraits dating from the Roman period (1st to the 4th century) found in Egyptian tombs throughout Egypt but particularly at the.


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Gold leaf creates a sumptuous panel.


By the end of the third century, mummy portraiture had virtually disappeared. Young officer with gold crown.


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You may find it fayum portraits to search within the site to see how similar or related subjects are covered. She is very beautiful.

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Her face is flawless: The unease we feel is only magnified when the circumstances are unusual, as fayum portraits are in the case of our elegant brunette, for we are simply not used to seeing such realistic portrayals of human faces from such a distant period.

A Fayum painting in situ, still resting on its original linen clad mummy. They are the oldest painted portraits to have survived from anywhere in the world. The paintings are the products of a multicultural society, one in which Romans mixed with native Egyptians and with Greeks descended from the Macedonian armies of Alexander the Great to create a polyglot community.

And who is that woman across the room with the emerald necklace and stricken face?

Fayum portrait | Egyptian art |

An Anne or an Alice, she looks overwhelmed. Click to fayum portraits in higher resolution. It is certainly true, as Cotter says, that they appear to capture personality as well as mere appearance. They have an indefinably familiar look.

But there is more to the mummy portraits than that. They are, for one thing, soulful, in a literal as well as a colloquial sense, for these are images that were specifically designed to accompany their owners into fayum portraits afterlife.

The Fayum mummy portraits

Two painting techniques were employed: The encaustic fayum portraits are striking because of the contrast between vivid and rich colours, and comparatively large brush-strokes, producing an " Impressionistic " effect. The tempera paintings have a finer gradation of tones and chalkier colours, giving a more restrained appearance.

There also are examples of hybrid techniques or of variations from the main techniques. The Fayum portraits reveal a wide range of painterly expertise and skill in presenting a lifelike appearance.

The naturalism of the portraits is often revealed in knowledge of anatomic structure and in skilled modelling of the form by the use of light and shade, which gives an appearance of three-dimensionality to most of the figures. The graded flesh tones are enhanced with shadows and highlights indicative of directional lighting.

Subjects and social context fayum portraits the paintings[ edit ] People of Fayum[ edit ] Under Greco-Roman rule, Egypt hosted several Greek settlements, mostly concentrated in Alexandriabut also in a few other cities, where Greek settlers lived alongside some seven to ten million native Egyptians.

Fayum mummy portraits - Wikimedia Commons

Walters Fayum portraits MuseumBaltimore. While commonly believed to represent Greek settlers in Egypt, [17] [18] the Faiyum portraits instead reflect the complex synthesis of the predominant Egyptian culture and that of the elite Greek minority in the city.

Most of the portraits depict the deceased at a relatively young age, and many show children. According to Walker, C. He concludes that the age distribution reflects the low life expectancy at the fayum portraits.

It was often believed that the wax portraits were completed during the life of the individual and displayed in their home, a custom that belonged to the traditions of Greek art[27] but this view is no longer widely held given the evidence suggested by the C.

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