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Fayum Mummy Portrait of a Middle-Aged Man*

Photo credit: Freud Museum London

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Portraits such as this one acted as a ‘death mask’ to be bound to their subject’s mummified body before burial. Wealthy Egyptians wanted their portraits to appear as realistic as possible to preserve their image after death. The man in this portrait is unknown. The portrait is unusual in that it shows its subject in middle age, whereas mummy portraits of this type more commonly show their subjects at a younger age. The vivid colours were made from hot beeswax mixed with coloured pigments painted onto a wooden board. The painting’s realistic style is more in keeping with Greco-Roman artistic traditions than Egyptian ones.

Freud Museum London



AD 250–300


tempera on wood


H 34 x W 23 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

acquired by Sigmund Freud

Work type



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Freud Museum London

20 Maresfield Gardens, London, Greater London NW3 5SX England

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