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Perspectives From the Archives

The Fayum Portraits: Funerary Painting of Roman Egypt, 1988

Jun 26, 2020 14 MINUTES
This enigmatic short film presents fifty Egyptian funerary portraits from the region of Fayum. Painted during Roman rule between 100 and 300 A.D., these striking, psychological works were executed in encaustic while their subjects were alive and later used to cover their faces after mummification. Narration includes excerpts from late Hellenistic texts including religious works and first-hand accounts from the dwellers of Fayum themselves, along with commentary from the art historian Richard Brilliant. A film by Andrea Simon and Bob Rosen, with music by Meredith Monk.

As part of The Met’s 150th anniversary in 2020, each month we will release three to four films from the Museum’s extensive moving-image archive, which comprises over 1,500 films, both made and collected by the Museum, from the 1920s onward. This includes rarely seen artist profiles and documentaries, as well as process films about art-making techniques and behind-the-scenes footage of the Museum.

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