New Faces from Egypt: Hellenistic Panel Paintings and their European Consequence

Open to the Public


Location The Institute of Fine Arts, NYU, at 1 East 78th Street

Among the Greeks and Romans, the most highly esteemed paintings were executed on framed wooden panels. So valued were they that lawyers distinguished the worth of the painting from the worth of the board. Due to the perishability of wood, this great body of ancient painting has remained a lost chapter in the history of art. However, a new project directed by Thomas F. Mathews has assembled a corpus of over sixty panels, complete or fragmentary, mostly from the first to third centuries CE, from sites in Egypt, languishing unstudied in museum basements across the world. These works, preserved by the sands of Egypt, offer a remarkable window into pagan religious production both before the rise of Christianity and contemporaneously with it. This joint discussion by Professor Mathews and Elsner will explore how the pagan panels pose many of the same problems both philosophically and in terms of cultic usage, demonstrating models which were appropriated by Christian culture as well as patterns of imagery which were specifically rejected.

In collaboration with the Institute of Fine Arts, NYUNY

Part of "Research at the NYUAD Institute"

Jas' Elsner Humfrey Payne Senior Fellow in Classical Archaeology and Art, Corpus Christi College, Oxford University; Visiting Professor of Art History, University of Chicago

Thomas Mathews John Loeb Professor Emeritus in the History of Art, Institute of Fine Arts, NYUNY