A Man with a Wreath

Image credit: The National Gallery, London

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This portrait was excavated from a burial chamber and dates to the second century AD, when Egypt was part of the Roman Empire. A middle-aged man directly confronts the viewer through his large heavy-lidded, golden-brown eyes. His portraitist has taken care to paint every hair of his beard and moustache so that they appear coarse and wiry. A gold wreath of leaves with a flower at its centre garlands his curly hair. Folds of cream-coloured drapery curve around his neck, crossing diagonally at his chest. At the far left of his tunic is a deep red clavus, a coloured stripe that denoted status in Rome. The painting was probably commissioned at the man’s death and then set into the case containing his mummified body. Only the wealthiest citizens would have been able to afford this kind of burial rite and image.

The National Gallery, London



A Man with a Wreath


probably 2nd C–3rd C


Probably encaustic on wood


H 42 x W 22 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Mond Bequest, 1924

Work type



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The National Gallery, London

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