In the First Century A.D. in Egypt artists under the influence of Greek and Roman culture created a series of sarcophagus covers in encaustic which have endured as some of the most elegant and poignant portraits ever made. It is said that the eyes of these portraits have a psychological importance unknown in Classical art--discovering the soul for the first time in art--soul manifested through the eyes.
he original portraits were painted in a pigmented wax called encaustic. It is a medium that is very enduring. In my mosaic I interpret one of the Fayum portraits using hand-made Italian glass smalti from the Orsoni foundry in Venice, Italy where I began this mosaic. Since much of the clothing depicted in this particular portrait was destroyed I gave her a drape in the 1920's Art Deco mode. Her earrings are 24 karat gold tesserae, but in this mosaic I turned the gold tesserae over so that the gold is on the bottom.The frame is carved marble.
I teach at the Santa Barbara School of Mosaic Art.