Mummy Portrait of a Bearded Man

Object Details


Mummy Portrait of a Bearded Man






Egypt, Africa (Place created)


about A.D. 150–170


Encaustic on linden wood

Object Number:



37 × 21 cm (14 9/16 × 8 1/4 in.)

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A bearded man gazes out from this Romano-Egyptian mummy portrait. His hairstyle and beard follow the court fashion of the Antonine dynasty, suggesting that this portrait was painted around A.D. 150 to 170. He wears the typical garments of tunic and cloak.

This portrait is a good example of the encaustic technique used for many mummy portraits. The thicker applications of paint on the man's face and hair, especially on the right side of the face and on the eyebrows, show the marks of the cestrum, a tool similar in function to the modern palette knife, which gave texture to the paint surface.

by 1973 - 1974

Robin Symes, Limited, sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1974.

Fayum Portraits: Painted Portraits from Roman Egypt (March 24, 1981 to 1997)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), March 24, 1981 to December 1, 1997
Ancient Faces: Mummy Portraits from Roman Egypt (March 13, 1997 to April 30, 1998)
  • The British Museum (London), March 13 to July 20, 1997
  • Palazzo Ruspoli (Rome), October 22, 1997 to April 30, 1998
Ancient Faces: Mummy Portraits from Roman Egypt (February 9 to May 7, 2000)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), February 9 to May 7, 2000

Apollo XCVIII, n.s. no. 142 (December 1973), p. 95, color ill.

Frel, Jiří. Recent Acquisitions. Ancient Art: The J. Paul Getty Museum (Pullman, Washington: 1974), no. 26.

Thompson, David L. "Four 'Fayum' Portraits in the Getty Museum." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 2 (1975), pp. 85-92, p. 89, no. 4; fig. 5.

Thompson, David L. The Artists of the Mummy Portraits (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1976), no. 4, cover ill.

Parlasca, Klaus. Ritratti di Mummie. Repertorio d'arte dell'Egitto greco-romano. 2 ser. Vol II. (Roma : "L'Erma" di Bretschneider, 1977), p. 57, no. 357; pl. 86.2.

Berger, J.-E. L'oeil et l'eternite. Portraits romains d'Egypte. Paudex, Switzerland: 1977, pp. 170, ill., 215.

Fredericksen, Burton B., Jiří Frel, and Gillian Wilson. Guidebook: The J. Paul Getty Museum. 4th ed., Sandra Morgan, ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1978), p. 64-65, ill.

Thompson, David L. Mummy Portraits in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1982), pp. 42-43, no. 6, ill.

Parlasca, K., J.-E. Berger, and R. Pintaudi. El-Fayyum (Milan: Ricci, 1985), p. 106, ill. p. 107.

Doxiadis, Euphrosyne. The Mysterious Fayum Portraits: Faces from Ancient Egypt (London: Thames and Hudson, 1995), p. 96, fig. 38; comment p. 225.

Borg, Barbara. Mumienporträts: Chronologie und kultureller Kontext (Mainz: Ph. von Zabern, 1996), pp. 80, 88, 162 ff.

Walker, Susan, Morris Bierbrier, et al. Fayum. Misteriosi Volti dall'Egitto, exh. cat. (Rome: Fondazione Memmo, October 22, 1997-February 28, 1998), p. 115, no. 85.

Borg, Barbara. "Der zierlichste Anblick der Welt," Aegyptische Portraetmumien. Mainz: 1998, pp. 72-73; fig. 86.

Walker, Susan, ed. Ancient Faces: Mummy Portraits from Roman Egypt, exh. cat. (New York: Routledge, 2000), no. 37.

Corcoran, Lorelei H., and Marie Svoboda. Herakleides: A Portrait Mummy from Roman Egypt (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2010), p.43, fig 23.

Miller, Barry. "On the Loss of Nudity in the Men's Locker Room." Psychological Perspectives 59, no. 1 (2016), pp. 94, ill.