Paint to revive dead people!
The Fayyum painting of this child looks like lifelike mummy portraits!
Those portraits were displayed on mummified bodies' tombs during the Coptic period. This unrivalled example of alchemy combining Egyptian, Greek, and Roman styles to intertwine from the first century B.C. through to the fourth century A.D, may have influenced later Christian art.
Inheritance from Ancient Egypt Although cremation and burial were common in the wider Greco-Roman world, funereal portraits in Al Fayyum adopted Egyptian mummification rituals. We may understand those portraits were created to keep the essence of the deceased intact and encapsulate the moment of a person’s transition from life through death. The realism of the eyes particularly stares out and invites to reflect not only about the life and the death but also about the present. Only the present matters and that was the main takeaway...
The choice of the child is particularly impactful because kids tend to better capture the energy and the essence of the present than the adults: kids just enjoy life and its beauty!
To go beyond the stars: Go and visit the rest of the Fayyum portraits portfolio from the Louvre Museum, they are all fascinating and fully evoke the personality of their owners!