Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Portrait of a young woman with a gilded wreath

Roman Period
A.D. 120–140
From Egypt
Encaustic, wood, gold leaf
H. 36.5 x W. 17.8 cm (14 3/8 x 7 in.)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1909
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 138
This panel was not painted in the areas where the mummy wrappings have would covered the edges. Once in the wrappings, the background was gilded, and a gilded line was drawn to frame the lower end of the painting. Gold leaf was also used for the wreath and the lower necklace, a gold chain with a crescent (called a lunula). The woman's face and neck are thickly painted in cream, heightened with pink on the cheeks and nose and around the eyes. The shades are built up from a dark ground.

The woman's oval face, large eyes, and slightly open lips give the portrait considerable presence. Venus rings on her neck call attention to her youthful plump beauty. The hairstyle is typical for the period of the Emperor Hadrian, except for the corkscrew locks around the forehead, which may be a regional style.

Link to the Artist Project
Y.Z. Kami on Egyptian mummy portraits
Purchased from Maurice Nahman in Cairo, 1909

Lythgoe, Albert M. 1910. "Græco–Egyptian Portraits." In The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, vol. 5, no. 3 (March), p. 70, fig. 6.

Parlasca, Klaus 1966. Mumienporträts und verwandte Denkmäler. Wiesbaden: Steiner, p. 42 (nn. 172, 177), p. 135 pl. 27[2].

Berger, Jacques-Edouard and René Creux 1977. L'oeil & l'éternité: portraits romains d'Egypte. Paudeux, p. 216, fig. 5.

Parlasca, Klaus 1977. Ritratti di Mummie, Ser B- II. Repertorio d'arte dell'Egitto Greco-Romano, Palermo: Fondazione Mormino, no, 309.

Doxiades, Euphrosyne 1995. Mysterious Fayum Portraits. London: H.N. Abrams, pp. 153-154, pl. 96, p. 218.

Borg, Barbara E. 1996. Mumienporträts, Chronologie, und Kulturelle Kontext. Mainz am Rhein: P. von Zabern, pp. 44 ff., 186.

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