Statistiques
Blogspot            ancien site - cliquer ici / old website - click here            Poetrypoem

PORTRAIT DU FAYOUM (français / anglais)

PDF
Imprimer
Envoyer

PORTRAIT DU FAYOUM

 

C’est moi, mon Prince aimé, c’est moi qui ai tracé

Tes traits délicieux sur ce portrait modeste,

Le temps a épargné la lumière céleste

De ton regard d’enfant épris d’éternité !

 

Ô logographe, exalte la noble ascendance

Dont mon pinceau rêva la triple excellence !

 

            Athanase Vantchev de Thracy

A Paris, ce mardi 30 janvier, Anno Domini MMVII    

Glose :

Portraits du Fayoum (Egypte) : peints sur des plaquettes de bois précieux ou sur de la toile de lin, les portraits du Fayoum sont datés de la période romaine: Ier - IVe siècle ap. J.-C.

Il en existe quelques milliers conservés dans les musées depuis que l’éminent égyptologue, le professeur anglais Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie (1853 – 1942) découvrit en mars 1888 "un immense cimetière d'époque romaine avec des chambres tombales en brique contenant encore les corps de leurs propriétaires". L'émotion se saisit de lui lorsqu'il aperçut, encore fixé sur sa momie, le premier portrait, "une jeune fille magnifiquement dessinée, dans de douces teintes grises.

La majorité des portraits funéraires présentent les visages grandeur nature. Ils doivent assurer au défunt un visage dans l'au-delà identique à celui de sa vie sur terre. Ils sont très expressifs, même après 2000 ans d'oubli.

Au Musée du Louvre, à Paris, des portraits du Fayoum sont présentés dans les salles de l'Égypte romaine.

La triple excellence : la philosophie grecque fait souvent état d’une tripartition traditionnelle :

-         biens extérieurs (richesse)

-         bien du corps (beauté et vigueur du corps)

-         bien de l’âme (savoir ou science (epistêmê / ’επιστήμη /)

Cette tripartition est déduite dans les dialogues de Platon à partir d’une distinction entre moi-même (mon moi), ce qui m’est propre (mon corps), ce qui est propre à ce qui m’est propre (mes biens). La tripartition « aura une postérité immense » et se retrouvera au principe de l’anthropologie et de l’éthique de la plupart des discussions anciennes sur la vie humaine et sa fin. Excellence (vertu) traduit ici le mot grec aretê / ’αρετή.

 

ENGLISH : 

The Fayum Portrait

 

Beloved Prince, it was I who painted
this modest portrait of your handsome face,
for time has not erased what shines through you -
the heavenly radiance of a child in love with eternity!

Let the historians praise the nobility of your ancestry,
now that I have dreamed with my brush your riches,
your beauty and your wisdom!

translated from the French of Athanase Vantchev de Thracy by Norton Hodges
07.02.07.

 

ENGLISH (My translation into English) :

 

PORTRAIT OF FAYUM

 

It is me, my liked Prince, it is me, who drew

Your delicious features on this modest portrait,

The time spared the heavenly light

Of your glance of child being in love with the eternity!

 

O logographer, exalt the noble ancestry

About which my paintbrush dreamed the triple excellence!

Notes:

Fayum mummy portraits is the name given to a large number of paintings from the first to third century. These are encaustic paintings, made with hot, pigmented wax on wooden panels, which were inserted into the mummies of the deceased. The surviving paintings are predominantly from the Fayum region in Roman Egypt where the practice was common and the dry heat preserved many of the paintings until today.

Most of the portraits depict the deceased at a relatively young age, and many show children. According to Walker (2000), "CAT scans of all the complete mummies represented [in Walker (2000)] reveal a correspondence of age and, in suitable cases, sex between mummy and image." Walker concludes that the age distribution reflects the low life expectancy at the time. It has also been proposed that the mummy paintings were originally wall paintings which were copied or used in their original form as panels.

Together with the surviving frescoes and objects from Pompeii and Herculaneum, and tomb frescoes in Macedonia, they are the best preserved paintings from ancient times. The portraits are remarkably naturalistic and it is believed that they were painted during the subject's lifetime. It is, however, debatable whether the portraits depict the subjects as they really were. Analyses have shown that the painters depicted faces in a repetitive and formulaic way, albeit with a variety of hairstyles and beards. They appear to have worked from a number of standard types without making detailed observations of the unique facial proportions of specific individuals which give each face its own personality.

Many musueums around the world have fine examples of Fayum mummy portraits on display, notably the Louvre in Paris, the British Museum, the Royal Museum of Scotland, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. 

The triple excellence: 

-         the excellence of birth (family)

-         the excellence of the body

-         the excellence of the heart and of the intelligence