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Mummy Portrait of a Bearded Man

Attributed to the Brooklyn Painter220 - 250

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

Gazing out for eternity, the man depicted on this Romano-Egyptian mummy portrait holds the symbols of his salvation. He has a glass filled with red liquid, presumably wine. Wine, and the color red in general, was associated with life in Egyptian thought and more specifically with rebirth in a funerary context. The garland of pink flowers in his other hand marks the man as an initiate in the cult of the goddess Isis, who offered her followers a happy, carefree afterlife.

Although scholars do not know where this portrait was excavated, several features match those of portraits from Er-Rubayat in the Fayum. The angular trimmed upper corners of the panel correspond to the way embalmers at this site cut down portrait panels to make them fit in the mummy wrappings. The portrait is painted in the frontal, unrealistic style favored at Er-Rubayat. Although it is difficult to convey three-dimensionality in the tempera technique, the Brooklyn Painter carefully used shadows and highlights to give a sense of depth to the man's face.

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Details

  • Title: Mummy Portrait of a Bearded Man
  • Creator: Attributed to the Brooklyn Painter
  • Date: 220 - 250
  • Location Created: Egypt
  • Physical Dimensions: 34 x 25 cm (13 3/8 x 9 13/16 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Tempera on wood
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Villa Collection, Malibu, California
  • Object Type: Panel
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: 79.AP.142
  • Display Location: Currently on view at: Getty Villa, Gallery 206, Arts of Greco-Roman Egypt
  • Department: Antiquities
  • Culture: Romano-Egyptian
  • Classification: Paintings

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