One thing that archeologists and art historians seem to disagree with, is whether or not the portraits were painted during the life of the sitters, or whether they were done post mortem. Personally, as an artist, I find it very hard to believe the latter, and I base this on the exquisite use of light and shadow which I can only believe are observed. Some of them are rather clunky and stylized, seemingly done in a vacuum, and almost interchangeable. A couple of the more famous and beautiful examples, however make me skeptical as to how they could have been done without having the sitter present. This is completely conjectural, and perhaps a topic worthy of an archeological inquiry, but I can imagine that an artist must have had a studio in town, somewhat like Olan Mills, or some commercial photographer today, and then a person would make a pre-funerary arrangement to come in for sittings. I’m particularly struck by how few elderly people there are, and this may be simply explained by the early mortality rate of the age-some forensic evidence suggests that the mummies were indeed about the age of the people portrayed-Still, this is where I think an artist, rather than a scientist or an archeologist might just be able to provide more insight into this-why, because there are certain aspects of light, shadow, paint texture and the sitter’s gaze that we’ve come to know from experience in our studio. Some of these pieces have all the markers of an observed painting, and that’s where science and intuition need to meet. Type your paragraph here.
John Bavaro fine art-digital art