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First discovered in the seventeenth century, the Fayum mummy portraits were panel paintings created during the Coptic period of Roman occupation of Egypt and are some of the few extant examples of classical panel painting.  The portraits were attached to cloths wrapped around the mummy, showing the face and upper chest.  These portraits were done either with tempura or hot wax (encaustic).  The people depicted in these mummy portraits are generally very young, and examinations of the mummies show the corpses correspond to the age and sex of the person in the painting, indicating that the region had a very low life expectancy.  The portraits are very naturalistic and provide a resource for fashion, hair, and jewelry in the provinces.  With the emphasis on features such as the eyes, nose, and mouth, the plain backgrounds, and frontal view, many art historians consider the Fayum mummy portraits to contain elements that would later be seen in Byzantine icons.

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  12:22 pm, by wifeofbath, [ 30 notes ]