New clues illuminate mysteries of ancient Egyptian portraits | Science News

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New clues illuminate mysteries of ancient Egyptian portraits

Same artist painted several lifelike paintings buried with mummies

By
4:29pm, February 14, 2016
Egyptian portraits

ANCIENT FACEOFF  Digital analyses of Egyptian portraits dating to more than 2,000 years ago indicate that the same person created all three artworks. Many pigments in the paintings probably came from ancient Greece, which influenced Egyptians’ turn to a modern style of portrait painting.

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.

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