Fayum Paintings, or Fayum Mummy Portraits, are portrait paintings that were discovered in Fayum, which is an oasis region 150 miles south of Alexandria, from the 1st and 2nd century AD. They were excavated from a cemetery, found buried with the mummified remains of the subject. The paintings, by
unknown artists, are remarkable for their beauty and lifelike details. They are also remarkable, considering the materials available to paint these portraits. The artists worked with a limited variety of pigments, unrefined tools, and were painting portraits of the dead. This fact may account for the oversized eyes, as they would not have seen them open. This makes the lifelike qualities of the paintings even more remarkable. Classic painting techniques include teaching students to create works with similarly limited palettes. Recently I had to paint a still life with two colors (terra rosa, and yellow ochre) combined with black and white. It was a challenge at first, but after mixing a number of colors, I realized how much
interest could be created with such a limited number of colors. I think my work was successful...I am waiting for my grade.