Panel with Painted Image of Isis

Object Details

Title:

Panel with Painted Image of Isis

Artist/Maker(s):

Unknown

Culture:

Romano-Egyptian

Place(s):

Egypt (Place created)

Date:

100

Medium:

Tempera on wood

Dimensions:

40 x 19 x 1.3 cm (15 3/4 x 7 1/2 x 1/2 in.)

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Her elaborate headdress and the characteristic "Isis knot" in her mantle identify the goddess Isis. The headdress combines floral elements with a central uraeus, all covered by a transparent veil. The goddess carries a staff on one shoulder and a wreath of pink flowers, like those seen on portraits of her worshippers, draped over the other.

In traditional Egyptian religion, Isis was the wife and sister of the chief god Osiris. The evil god Seth murdered Osiris and scattered parts of his dismembered body throughout Egypt. The bereft Isis found all the parts but one, reassembled and wrapped them in linen and revived Osiris enough that she conceived a child, Horus, by him.

Although their names changed, this holy family remained important in Ptolemaic and Roman times. Aspects of the traditional gods Osiris and Horus were incorporated into the new Hellenized deities Serapis and Harpocrates, who joined Isis in a holy triad. By Hellenistic times, the worship of Isis had developed into a mystery religion that spread throughout the Mediterranean because it promised a happy, carefree afterlife to its initiates.

Provenance
- 1974

Nicolas Koutoulakis (Geneva, Switzerland), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1974.

Exhibitions
Fayum Portraits: Painted Portraits from Roman Egypt (March 24, 1981 - 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
Aurea Roma: Dalla citta pagana alla citta cristiana (December 21, 2000 to April 20, 2001)
  • Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Comune di Roma, (Rome), December 21, 2000 to April 20, 2001
Bibliography

Frel, Jirí. Recent Acquisitions. Ancient Art: The J. Paul Getty Museum. (Pullman, Washington: 1974). no. 23.

Thompson, David L. The Artists of the Mummy Portraits. Malibu: 1976. p. 16, fig. 52.

Parlasca, Klaus. Ritratti di Mummie. Repertorio d'arte dell'Egitto greco-romano (A. Adriani, ed.). 2 ser. Vol II. Rome: 1977. p. 69, no. 405; pl. 100.1-3.

Berger, J.-E. L'oeil et l'eternite. Portraits romains d'Egypte. Paudex, Switzerland: 1977. pp. 117, ill., 215.

Weitzmann, Kurt. The icon : holy images, sixth to fourteenth century (New York : G. Braziller, 1978) p. 9, pl. 5.

Thompson, David L. "A Painted Triptych from Roman Egypt," The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 6/7 (1978-1979), pp. 185-192. figs. 2, 1a.

Thompson, David L. Mummy Portraits in the J. Paul Getty Museum. Malibu: 1982. pp. 46-51, no. 8, ill.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 1st ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1986) p. 56.

Bianchi, Robert S. "The Mummy as Medium," Archaeology. (November/December, 1995), pp. 60-66. p. 62.

Fenton, James. "The Mummy's Secret," The New York Review of Books. (July 17, 1997), pp. 57-62. p. 61.

Walker, Susan, Morris Bierbrier, et al. Fayum. Misteriosi Volti dall'Egitto, exh. cat. (Rome: Fondazione Memmo, October 22, 1997-February 28, 1998) pp. 144, 146-47, no. 107.

Rutschowscaya, Marie-Helene. Le Christ et l'abbe Mena. Paris: Musee du Louvre, 1998. p. 35; fig. 30.

Walker, Susan, ed. Ancient Faces. Mummy Portraits from Roman Egypt. Metropolitan Museum of Art, exh. cat., February 15-May 7, 2000. (New York: Routledge, 2000) p. 21.

Aurea Roma. Dalla citta pagana alla citta cristiana. Exh. cat., E. La Rocca, ed. Rome, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, December 22, 2000-April 20, 2001. pp. 653-654, no. 367.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Antiquities Collection (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2002) pp. 224-25.

Sorries, Reiner. Das Malibu-Triptychon: ein Totengedenkbild aus dem romischen Agypten und verwandte Werke der spatantiken Tafelmalerei (Dettelbach: Roll, 2003)

Mathews, Thomas and Norman Muller. "Isis and Mary in early icons." In Images of the Mother of God: Perceptions on the Theotokos in Bysantium. Maria Vassilaki, ed. (Burlington: Ashgate, 2005) p. 7, fig. 1.4 (incorrectly cited as 74.AI.22).

Nelson, Robert S., and Kristen M. Collins, eds. Holy Image, Hallowed Ground: Icons From Sinai, exh. cat. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2006) pp. 47-49, fig. 48.

Rondot, Vincent. Derniers Visages des Dieux d'Égypte (Paris: Éditions du Louvre, 2013) pp. 203-7, ill.

Quack, Joachim Friedrich. "Serapis als neuer Gefaehrte der Isis: Von der Geburt eines Gottes aus dem Geist eines Stiers." In Imperium der Goetter: Isis, Mithras, Christus..., exh. cat. (Karlsruhe: Badisches Landesmuseum, 2013) p. 164