Same artist painted several lifelike paintings buried with mummies
Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology/Univ. of California, Berkeley
WASHINGTON — Scientists are getting a clearer picture of how ancient Egyptians painted lifelike portraits that were buried with mummies of the depicted individuals. These paintings sharply departed from Egyptians’ previous, simpler artworks and were among the first examples of modern Western portraits, archaeologist and materials scientist Marc Walton reported February 14 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The “mummy portraits” date to more than 2,000 years ago, when the Roman Empire controlled Egypt.
Three such portraits of Roman-era Egyptians, found more than a century ago at a site called Tebtunis, were created by the same artist, said Walton, of Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. Identities of the boy and two men in the portraits are unknown. Separate computerized analyses of colors and shapes in the stylistically similar paintings revealed that brushstrokes of the same width