The Freud Museum

Mummy Portrait

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4946, Mummy Portrait, Roman Period; c. A.D. 250-300

Culture: Egyptian
Material: Tempera on wood
Dimensions: 13 3/8 x 9 in. 34 x 23 cm

Made during the Roman Period, this portrait depicts an aging Egyptian man and was intended for his mummy. Portraits of this type were produced from the first to the fourth century A.D., and were bound over the face of an embalmed body, adapting Roman artistic style to Egyptian religious practice. An example of this type of portrait has been found with a frame, suggesting that they may have been painted and put on display before their final use as a mummy covering.

Freud acquired this portrait from Austrian dealer Theodor Graf, who had been connected to several excavations in Egypt, including one that unearthed a large number of Roman style mummy portraits. Many of Graf’s mummy portraits, along with the one in Freud’s collection, were put in an exhibition in Berlin in 1889, which due to its popularity travelled throughout Europe and even across the Atlantic to the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago.

See this object on our Collections site here

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