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Discover The Fascination Of Fayum Art Fayum art is a modern term given to realistic portraits which were painted on wooden boards. These dated from the Roman period. They were found by archaeologists in tombs throughout Egypt but particularly in the Fayum basin. Panel painting was a highly respected art form in the classical world and these portraits are among the best surviving from those times. Fayum portraits are also important for the way they document culture. They were thought to represent the upper classes of society. This would have included leaders in government, the military and the church as well as wealthy families. Not everyone could afford a portrait as many mummies were found without one. It is clear from the style that the portraits come from Greek tradition. This is understandable as there were many Greeks who settled in Egypt after it was conquered by Alexander the Great. These portraits serve to showcase the skill of ancient artists. Analyses have shown that specific facial proportions for each person were not used. The painters seem to have worked from a number of standard types, adding different hairstyles and beards. This does not take away from the impact of these works. The boards these portraits on were made of hard woods such as ceder or cyprus. Panels were cut into rectangles and then prepared with a primer. The primer was necessary in order for the colors to appear as vivid as possible and not sink into the wood. The paint used was made up of pigments and a binder mixed with them. The earliest technique for portraits was a combination of the pigments and wax (encaustic). This technique produced paintings which seemed like oil paintings, even though oil paint had not yet been discovered. The colors produced were very vivid and superior to the tempera method which came later. Tempera was cheaper and quicker to apply but colors were not as intense. Pigments were mixed with an egg base rather than wax. Most of the paintings portray the deceased in their youth, showing only the head and sometimes the shoulders. The background was monochrome and the person would usually be looking slightly to the left which added some depth. The images are very life-like, appearing almost three-dimensional. The portraits were used to cover the faces of the mummified bodies, being mounted into the bands of cloth that were used for wrapping. In this way, they gave an opening almost like a window, showing the face of the deceased person. Portraits were occasionally painted directly onto the wrappings of the mummy. These pieces are found in many museums today where their realism can be admired. The intense colors and realistic nature give them impact. The colors were probably so well preserved due to the climate of Egypt which is hot and dry. The fascination with fayum art has inspired artists to recreate this ancient form today. Modern


materials are used with age-old techniques to produce some striking results. The method used involves transferring of a painting onto a prepared wooden board and then treating this in various ways to create the desired effect. Read more about Fayum Art Is An Inspiration visiting our website. For further details, Visit Discover The Fascination Of Fayum Art

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