Why are Fayum mummy portraits important?

Why are Fayum mummy portraits important?

The Fayum portraits are the only large body of art from that tradition to have survived. They were formerly, and incorrectly, called Coptic portraits. While painted cartonnage mummy cases date back to pharaonic times, the Faiyum mummy portraits were an innovation dating to the time of Roman rule in Egypt.

Why were the Fayum portraits made?

Stylistically related to the tradition of Greco-Roman painting, but created for a typically Egyptian purpose — inclusion in the funerary trappings of mummies — these are startlingly realistic portraits of men and women of all ages.

What technique is used for the Fayum portraits?

They were painted in the encaustic or hot wax technique: the artist melted beeswax and combined it with different colored pigments to create a special paint mixture. Fayum is a low-lying area a little over 37 miles from Cairo.

Where are Fayum portraits?

Mummy portraits, also referred to as Fayum. A fertile desert basin immediately to the west of the Nile River, south of Cairo. Roman mummies were discovered there in several ancient cemeteries and archaeological sites, including Hawara and er-Rubayat.

Do Egyptians painted a face on mummies?

After the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, Egypt became part of the Roman Empire and realistic paintings of people’s faces on wooden panels – ‘mummy portraits’ – became the new trend for burials.

Who painted the Fayum portraits?

Flinders Petrie turned his attention to the Fayum, a sprawling oasis region 150 miles south of Alexandria.

Why do Egyptians painted funerary portraits?

Known and admired since their discovery in the 19 th century, these painted artifacts in the form of mummy portraits and funerary panels, remain a mystery even today. These curious portraits have been used as ethnographic evidence about culture and society at the beginning of the millennium.

Are Fayum portraits Greek?

However – while the artistic style of the Fayum portraits is unmistakably Greek, and some of the early subjects were probably Greek “citizens” – by the time the genre fell into decline about 250 CE, the early Ptolemaic Greek settlers had married local Egyptian women, adopted Egyptian religious practices, and were seen …

Who made the Fayum portraits?

Between 1887 and 1889, the British archaeologist W.M. Flinders Petrie turned his attention to the Fayum, a sprawling oasis region 150 miles south of Alexandria.

What do Roman portraits tell us about ancient Roman beliefs and values?

Roman leaders favored the sense of civic duty and military ability over beauty in their portraiture. Veristic portraits, including arguably ugly features, was a way of showing confidence and of placing a value on strength and leadership above superficial beauty.

Who created the Fayum mummy portraits?

Almost all the paintings created by the ancient Greeks and Romans are lost. After three millennia shrouding mummies with idealized faces, Egyptians covered them with the realistic Fayum Mummy Portraits. Fayum mummy portraits, unknown young man, Eirene, “daughter of Silvanus, her mother is Senpnoutis.

What are Fayum paintings?

Collectively, they are usually known as “Fayum paintings,” or sometimes “Fayum mummy portraits,” for most of them were recovered wrapped up in the burial linens of ancient mummies, placed in the spot where the face would once have been. They are the oldest painted portraits to have survived from anywhere in the world.

Where are mummy portraits found in Egypt?

Mummy portraits have been found across Egypt, but are most common in the Faiyum Basin, particularly from Hawara in the Fayum Basin (hence the common name) and the Hadrianic Roman city Antinoopolis. “Faiyum Portraits” is generally used as a stylistic, rather than a geographic, description.

How do the Fayum portraits touch us?

For John Berger, “the Fayum portraits touch us as if they had been painted last month.”