The Mysterious Fayum Portraits

The Mysterious Fayum Portraits : Faces from Ancient Egypt

By (author) Euphrosyne Doxiadis , Foreword by Dorothy J. Thompson

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The Fayum portraits were created by the people of a flourishing district of Roman Egypt during the first three centuries AD. In the old Egyptian tradition, these people embalmed the bodies of their dead, but then they placed over the mummy, a painted portrait to preserve the memory of each individual. Over 1000 portraits have so far been discovered of men, women and children. This book features over 100 of these ancient paintings. The explanatory text sets the people and the paintings in their social, artistic and geographical context, and describes the artistic techniques used in their creation.

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  • Paperback | 248 pages
  • 240 x 318 x 20mm | 1,642.02g
  • 17 Jul 2000
  • Thames & Hudson Ltd
  • London
  • English
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 274 illustrations, 124 in colour
  • 050028217X
  • 9780500282175
  • 1,069,765

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Review text

These fantastic portraits are the result of a unique fusion of classical Greek naturalism and ancient Egyptian custom. From 'the largest body of ancient-easel-painting' ever - (over 1000 have been found so far), 200 are reproduced here, largely in colour. Initially developed in AD1, the portraits reveal 'faces from Ancient Egypt', but they are radically different from the stylized representations found among the hieroglyphics. The newer inhabitants of Egypt (Graeco-Roman immigrants) adopted the famous funerary practices of their predecessors, and commissioned these life-like images specifically to place upon coffins. They have been described as 'glowing with a flame of immortal life' and indeed they are so strikingly modern that they were widely believed to be fakes when they were discovered in the 19th century. They do not fit conveniently into a pre-conceived division of art history, and so they have been ignored; this excellent book should help rectify this omission. See the front cover of this Guide. (Kirkus UK)

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