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Mummy Portraits of Roman Egypt: Emerging Research from the APPEAR Project

Edited by Marie Svoboda and Caroline Cartwright

Once interred with mummified remains, nearly a thousand funerary portraits from Roman Egypt survive today in museums around the world, bringing viewers face-to-face with people who lived two thousand years ago. Until recently, few of these paintings had undergone in-depth study to determine by whom they were made and how.

An international collaboration known as APPEAR (Ancient Panel Paintings: Examination, Analysis, and Research) was launched in 2013 to promote the study of these objects and to gather scientific and historical findings into a shared database. The first phase of the project was marked with a two-day conference at the Getty Villa. Conservators, scientists, and curators presented new research on topics such as provenance and collecting, comparisons of works across institutions, and scientific studies of pigments, binders, and supports. The papers and posters from the conference are collected in this publication, which offers the most up-to-date information available about these fascinating remnants of the ancient world.

This open-access catalogue is available for free online and in multiple formats for download, including PDF, MOBI/Kindle, and EPUB. For readers who wish to have a bound reference copy, this paperback edition has been made available for sale. 

Marie Svoboda is conservator of antiquities at the J. Paul Getty Museum. She is coauthor of Herakleides: A Portrait Mummy from Roman Egypt (Getty Publications, 2011). Caroline Cartwright is senior scientist in the Department of Scientific Research at the British Museum. She has authored over 245 scientific publications.

Mummy Portraits of Roman Egypt is an approachable text that explores Romano-Egyptian subject matter. Drawing from an international pool of resources has helped to construct a collaborative cross-cultural dialogue. . . . I believe this publication articulates a great starting point for further study of Romano-Egyptian mummy portraits and successfully encourages the exchange of datasets to achieve optimum, reliable and consistent results. . . . This is what makes the publication stand out; it is perceptive because it is multidisciplinary.”
—Alexandra Taylor, News in Conservation

196 pages
8 1/2 x 11 inches
169 color illustrations
26 diagrams and tables
ISBN 978-1-60606-654-6

Getty Publications
Imprint: J. Paul Getty Museum