Exhibitions: Unearthing the Truth: Egypt's Pagan and Coptic Sculpture

Bust of a Saint

Bust of a Saint. Egypt, exact provenance unknown, 4th–5th century C.E. Limestone, traces of paint, 8 x 10 7/16 in. (20.3 x 26.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 55.2.3

The halo around the head of this bearded man identifies him as a saint. His arms were both bent upward, and in one hand, now lost, he held a cross. With his other hand, he appears to be blessing his viewers. The deeper carving of the figure’s face and of his cross emphasizes their importance in this composition, which was probably made for a church rather than a tomb.