Collections: Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art: Portrait of a Noblewoman

  • 1st Floor
    Arts of Africa, Steinberg Family Sculpture Garden
  • 2nd Floor
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  • 3rd Floor
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  • 4th Floor
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  • 5th Floor
    Luce Center for American Art

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    86.226.18_SL1.jpg CUR.86.226.18_erg456.jpg

    Portrait of a Noblewoman

    Roman Period mummy portraits were painted on wooden panels that were slipped into the mummy wrappings over the face of the deceased. Often, as here, the artists used melted wax as a medium, building up thick layers of pigment and highlighting the facial features with touches of white. Although painted in the naturalistic tradition of the Greco-Roman world, these images are idealized representations of the deceased, and they were used in a traditional Egyptian funerary context. This woman's dress, hairstyle, and jewelry show the influence of fashions at the Roman imperial court and reflect a desire to be understood as Romanized. However, there is no way to know whether her heritage was Egyptian, Mediterranean, or mixed.

    • Medium: Encaustic on wood
    • Place Made: Egypt
    • Dates: ca. 150 C.E.
    • Period: Roman Period
    • Dimensions: 17 5/16 x 11 5/16 x 1/8 in. (44 x 28.7 x 0.3 cm)  (show scale)
    • Collections:Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
    • Museum Location: This item is on view in Egypt Reborn: Art for Eternity, Egyptian Orientation Gallery, 3rd Floor
    • Exhibitions:
    • Accession Number: 86.226.18
    • Credit Line: Gift of the Ernest Erickson Foundation, Inc.
    • Rights Statement: No known copyright restrictions
    • Caption: Portrait of a Noblewoman, ca. 150 C.E. Encaustic on wood, 17 5/16 x 11 5/16 x 1/8 in. (44 x 28.7 x 0.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Ernest Erickson Foundation, Inc., 86.226.18
    • Image: overall, 86.226.18_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
    • Record Completeness: Best (83%)
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    Recent Comments
    07:40 06/27/2011
    I lived, and I died
    as, no doubt,
    you too from the future
    who might see
    my portrait
    will

    I loved and I enjoyed my life
    and I had my pleasures and my joys
    and travails and pain and suffering too;
    there was the identity I had
    and I was my home, my property and jewelry
    and I was my group and my family and my kind…
    for all that, I lived as many others
    as any human - happy, fulfilled
    through inconveniences, awkwardness
    and comforts and possessions
    and then I died

    and you in the future,
    who might look at my portrait -
    to you I wish long life, happiness, and bliss
    all through the days that may be yours
    on this our earth where I too lived



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