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Art and Science of Mummy Portraits from Roman Egypt

Art and Science of Mummy Portraits from Roman Egypt

The Art and Science of Mummy Portraits

Paint the Eyes Softer: Mummy Portraits from Roman Egypt”, ​presented by Northwestern’s Block Museum of Art and McCormick School of Engineering, opens on January 13th and continues through April 22nd.

The exhibition brings to Northwestern a series of mummy portraits produced in Egypt during the Roman period, a complete intact portrait mummy and other archeological finds from the Fayum region.

The groundbreaking installation is co-curated by Marc Walton, research professor of materials science and engineering at McCormick and senior scientist at NU-ACCESS; Taco Terpstra, assistant professor of classics and history in Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences; and Essi Rönkkö, Block Museum curatorial associate.

Northwestern students enrolled in an advanced undergraduate seminar in fall 2017 worked with Terpstra and Walton to conduct hands-on work in a laboratory environment collecting scientific data on the mummy portraits and the Hibbard mummy. Their research results are summarized in the exhibition and provide new insights into the economic, historical and social context for art-making in the Fayum region and Roman Egypt.

The Block Museum is always free and open to all.

What's Inside

Argonne Lab

As part of a comprehensive scientific investigation, the mummy traveled from Evanston to Argonne National Laboratory on Nov. 27 for an all-day X-ray scattering experiment led by Stuart R. Stock, research professor of cell and molecular biology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. It was the first study of its kind performed on a human mummy.

Related Links

Researchers unraveling mummy mysteries

Researchers unraveling mummy mysteries

The Chicago Tribune shadowed researchers conducting a synchrotron experiment on the mummy at Argonne National Lab.
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Mummy study reveals clues to girl’s story

Mummy study reveals clues to girl’s story

Scientists and students work together to unravel her mysteries, including how her body was prepared 1,900 years ago in Egypt.

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“Paint the Eyes Softer" opens Jan. 13

“Paint the Eyes Softer" opens Jan. 13

The Block Museum of Art and the McCormick School of Engineering delve into the art and science of ancient mummy portraits.

READ MORE

Published: January 10, 2018. Updated: February 13, 2018.

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