JACQUES-EDOUARD BERGER FOUNDATION: World Art Treasures

 

Roman Portraits from Egypt: The eye and eternity

Located some one hundred kilometers south of Cairo, Fayyum is a green and fertile region in a vast circular depression. Its diameter from east to west is approximately 60 kilometers, northwest of the lake of Birket Qarun.
The ancient Egyptians called this region Mer-our (The Great Lake). Fayyum played a significant role during the 12th Dynasty, and later under the Ptolemies.
The Fayyum portraits conflict in an intriguing manner, scattered as they are around the world in museums and collections and, which, here, bring together the image to be viewed as a whole. An ideal museum, which may be visited city by city, to which we soon become attached, to the extent that, during the visit, already familiar traits await us, as one of this art's truly ambiguous features is its ability to multiply effigies which, at first sight, quickly, even too quickly, elicit a feeling of déjà-vu.


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