Mummy Portrait of a Bearded Man

Unknownabout 225 - 250

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The subtle shadow growth of beard and moustache give a definite sense of realism to this Romano-Egyptian mummy portrait of a man. The man's very short hairstyle, fashionable beginning late in the Severan dynasty, dates this portrait to the period from about A.D. 225 to 250. The unknown artist was a master of shadow and texture who excelled in using shading to give subtlety to the facial features and three-dimensionality to the folds of the tunic.

Several features of this portrait are unusual. Rather than having been trimmed down to a smaller size when the time came to wrap it in the mummy, the sides of the panel have been broken roughly away. Also odd is the placement of a wreath of pink flowers and sprig of green leaves across the bottom of the panel. Usually the person in the portrait holds these symbols. Placed at the bottom of the panel, they would have been hidden in the mummy wrappings.

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  • Title: Mummy Portrait of a Bearded Man
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date: about 225 - 250
  • Location Created: Egypt
  • Physical Dimensions: 47.5 x 19 cm (18 11/16 x 7 1/2 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Encaustic on wood
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Villa Collection, Malibu, California
  • Object Type: Panel
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: 79.AP.141
  • Display Location: Currently on view at: Getty Villa, Gallery 206, Arts of Greco-Roman Egypt
  • Department: Antiquities
  • Culture: Romano-Egyptian
  • Classification: Paintings