In 1888, William Flinders Petrie excavated different parts of the sprawling oasis area of Fayum in Alexandria -Egypt- (SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE, 2012). Petrie directed his attention to excavations done in the Pyramid of Amenemhet III (Tour Egypt, n.d.). In the pyramid, hundreds of mummies were found with fascinating portraits of the mummified bodies (SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE, 2012). The funeral portraits are know as the Fayum portraits and were later found all around Egypt (SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE, 2012). The Fayum portraits date back to the Greco-Roman era in Egypt (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000). What was absolutely brilliant about the Fayum portrait is that they blended both of the Ancient Egyptian culture and the Greco-Roman culture. In this essay, I am going to discuss the historical background of the portraits, give a critical analysis of the portraits, and analyse one piece specifically.
In this part, the historical background of the painting and the influences found in the paintings will be …show more content…
Mummification is a method used to maintain and preserve the dead body for the afterlife. First, the internal organs are gouged out and all moisture in the body is removed (Getty Museum, 2009). Next, the body is covered and wrapped with cloth (Getty Museum, 2009). This method was passed down in Egypt for thousands of years and continued to be practiced during the Roman rule. A significant alternations had been done to the practice of mummification when Ancient Egypt was occupied by the Romans. This alternation was placing Greco-Roman (Fayum) portraits on the body while wrapping it. This is how the Fayum portraits represented the Roman artistic methods, Greek traditions, and Ancient Egyptian funerary practices (British Museum, n.d.). Also, these mummy paintings go back to the classical era in Greco-Roman