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This painted portrait on wooden board acted as a ‘death mask’ to be bound to its subject after mummification and before burial. The identity of the sitter portrayed here is unknown. The purpose of the mask was to preserve the deceased’s image after death. The portraits would often be painted during a person’s lifetime and displayed in the home until they died, meaning subjects were immortalised at their most youthful and attractive. The vivid colours were made from hot beeswax mixed with coloured pigments painted onto a wooden board.
tempera on wood
H 35.6 x W 19.1 cm
acquired by Sigmund Freud