Monday, April 3

Fayyum Portraits

Apr 1, 2006 2:43 AM
Hi Dean--

Here‘s a link to the portraits I was telling you about...

It’s kind of a kranky website. Make sure to “link to other cities” to see more pictures....

This is kind of the guy I had in mind:


xo
G

Apr 1, 2006 11:48 AM
i’ve seen these, but wasn’t familiar with the term. cool. but wouldn’t you consider these hellenistic portraits proto-byzantine in their styling? i see a connection...

Apr 1, 2006 12:14 PM
Calling it proto-Byzantine may be a tad Byzantine-centric, no? But I
see your point... :)

Soon
G

Apr 1, 2006 12:45 PM
i’ve never denied being byzanto-centric :)
it’s just that i see elements in the portraiture that byzantine artists picked up on later. perhaps it would be more accurate to say that the early byzantine stuff, not much of which survives because of the iconoclasts, relies heavily on hellenistic portraiture. how’s that? :)

~

A little bit later on, I had a chance to peruse the site and came across him:


I don’t know who he was, how he died, or anything about him. But looking into those eyes across the span of two millennia, I feel as if I know him.

5 Comments:

Blogger The Persian said...

I see it as well Dean, his eyes are so penetrating.

2:58 PM  
Blogger Will said...

Yes, and let me put forward another possible influence on these paint portraits--the great tradition of Roman portrait sculpture in which realism reached astonishingly high levels.

In the Naples museum I saw Roman portrait busts that still had inlays for the pupils and irises of the eyes. They're startlingly vivid and almost confrontational--penetrating, as Jim says--and very similar to the effect of the eyes on that handsome man in the portrait Dean found.

I think Byzantine art in icons, and certainly in mosaic, moved away from any such realism into an impressive and monumental formality that was meant to inspire awe, not familiarity. It's indeed a shame that so much was lost in the Iconoclastic revolt--those works are probably a missing link.

9:25 PM  
Anonymous latinovicz said...

A fun thing to do with these images is to try to match them with some of Cavafy's poems. I'm thinking of poems like "The Tomb of Evrion" (C. Cavafy, Collected Poems, p. 50), which begins as follows:

In this tomb—ornately designed,
the whole of syenite stone,
covered by so many violets, so many lilies—
lies handsome Evrion,
an Alexandrian, twenty-five years old...

10:32 PM  
Blogger kate m said...

One of my favorites is at the MET in NYC:

http://www.bergerfoundation.ch/wat3/frame1.pl?babel=english

I feel this particular portrait has an element of humanism in it... it's worth the trip to see.

10:51 PM  
Blogger Sandouri Dean Bey said...

thanks for the comments :)

persian guy-
there's a certain resemblance...

will-
very insightful, though i would argue that byzantine icons were meant to inspire both awe and familiarity.

latinovicz-
yes! yes! yes! how wonderful!

kate-
which one? the link went to an image from miami...

11:07 PM  

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