Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Unpublished Fayum Portraits Come to Life at the National Archaeology Museum in Madrid

Roman-era portrait of an Egyptian mummy from t...Fayoum portait
The Fayum Mummy Portraits continue to surprise to this day with their modern sensibility and vitality. Made between the first and fourth centuries A.D. they come from the tomb of Al- Fayum as well as from other places across Egypt, and they are borne of a mixture of Greek encaustic painting, Roman realism, and Egyptian funerary rituals. The exhibition Fayum Portraits + Adrian Paci: No Visible Future, organized by the Ministry of Culture, National Archeology Museum and PHotoEspaña posits these paintings as the earliest antecedent of photography since, in a manner similar to ID photos, the painters portray with the greatest possible exactitude the characteristics of their subjects so that the souls of the dead could recognize them – hence the portraits’ simplicity and accuracy.

John Berger dedicated one of his most elegant texts to these works; in it, he relates them to the migrations of our time. This exhibition seeks to pay them homage, bringing together 13 portraits that are shown along with the video Centro para la permanencia temporal (Center for Temporal Permanence), by Adrian Paci, a work in which time stops, and its protagonists – possible emigrants seek to depart but do not move – are subtly fashioned like the living-dead of Fayum.

More at Art Daily
Enhanced by Zemanta