Mummy Portrait Of A Bearded Man
© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
1923.59
Title
Mummy Portrait of a Bearded Man
Classification
Paintings
Work Type
painting
Date
c. 250 CE
Places
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Africa, Fayum (Egypt)
Period
Roman Imperial period, Late
Culture
Egyptian
Location
Level 3, Room 3740, Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Art
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Physical Descriptions
Medium
Encaustic on linden wood
Dimensions
46 cm h x 20.2 cm w x 2 cm d (18 1/8 x 7 15/16 x 13/16 in.)
Provenance
Denman Waldo Ross, Cambridge, MA, (by 1923), gift; to Fogg Art Museum, 1923.
Aquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Dr. Denman W. Ross
Accession Year
1923
Object Number
1923.59
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
Descriptions
Commentary
Re-View Exhibition, Spring 2008, gallery label information:

These wooden panels were set into mummy wrappings, covering the face of the deceased. Their vibrant encaustic (wax-based) painting was well preserved by the dry Egyptian climate. Such mummy portraits, often called Fayum Portraits after the
region where many were found, reflect the fusion of Egyptian funerary practices, Greek painting techniques, and Roman portrait traditions. Leaving an anchor for the soul on earth by placing a substitute representation of the deceased within
the tomb was a long-standing practice in Egypt. The image did not necessarily bear a physical resemblance but showed the deceased as virtuous. The man's hair and beard are trimmed short, as on the marble head of a bearded man (1949.47.138) in the center of the gallery. The shape of the woman's portrait reveals that it comes from Antinoopolis, a city founded by the emperor Hadrian.
Exhibition History

Roman Gallery Installation (long-term), Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 09/16/1999 - 01/20/2008

Gods in Color: Painted Sculpture of Classical Antiquity, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 09/22/2007 - 01/20/2008

Re-View: S422 Ancient & Byzantine Art & Numismatics, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 04/12/2008 - 06/18/2011

Ancient to Modern, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/31/2012 - 06/01/2013

Subjects and Contexts

Collection Highlights

Google Art Project

Related Works
Verification Level

3 - Good. Object is well described and information is vetted