Theodor Graf, Austrian, Austrian, 1840 - 1903 (Vienna, Austria)
Otto Benesch, 1896 - 1964 (Vienna, Austria)
by 1979 - 1981
Antiken Heinz Herzer (Munich, Germany), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1981.
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Currently on view at: Getty Villa, Gallery 210, Roman Egypt
Mummy Portrait of a Young Woman
Egypt (Place Created)
about A.D. 170–200
Tempera on wood
34.9 × 21.3 cm (13 3/4 × 8 3/8 in.)
With large expressive eyes, a woman gazes out for eternity from this Romano-Egyptian mummy portrait. Her clothes and jewelry--a gold necklace and pearl drop earrings--indicate her elite status. Her hairstyle, popular in the royal court at Rome during the Antonine dynasty, allows the portrait to be dated to the period from about A.D. 170 to 200.
Often the tempera mummy portraits found in the Fayum were painted in a less naturalistic style than those done in encaustic, but the painter of this portrait carefully created a three-dimensional image. Highlights and shadows give depth to the woman's face. In contrast to the face, however, the woman's clothing is depicted in a summary manner.
Art + Ideas Podcast: Marie Svoboda on Egyptian Mummy Portraits
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Walker, Susan, ed. Ancient Faces: Mummy Portraits from Roman Egypt, exh. cat. (New York: Routledge, 2000), no. 43.
Corcoran, Lorelei H., and Marie Svoboda. Herakleides: A Portrait Mummy from Roman Egypt (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2010), 37, fig 18.