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Conversations around Funerary Portraits

Portrait of a woman with brown eyes and dark hair on a fragmented wooden panel.
Fragmentary portrait of a woman, Egypt, second half 2nd century CE. Support: imported European lime wood (Tilia europaea); binder: beeswax; pigments: lead white, red and yellow ochres, carbon black, natrojarosite, Egyptian blue. Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Mrs. A. Kingsley Potter, 1946.44.

Special Event


Join paintings conservator Sally Woodcock and conservation scientist Narayan Khandekar for a virtual conversation on how grief is expressed in ancient Egyptian portraits and teaching about loss.

Funerary Portraits from Roman Egypt: Facing Forward is a collaborative effort drawing from the expertise of staff across the museums and other members of our community. The exhibition invites visitors to reflect upon objects that represent the deceased and were once intimately connected with their bodies. It foregrounds artistic processes and technical research but also draws attention to the complicated histories of these objects.

Led by:
Sally Woodcock, Paul Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Cambridge
Narayan Khandekar, Director and Senior Conservation Scientist, Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies, Harvard Art Museums

This talk will take place online via Zoom. The event is free and open to all, but registration is required. To register, please complete this online form.

Please read these instructions on how to join a meeting on Zoom. For general questions, email

Support for this exhibition is provided by the Kelekian Fund, the Christopher and Jean Angell Charitable Fund, and the Kornfeld Foundation (through Christopher Angell). Related programming is supported by the M. Victor Leventritt Lecture Series Endowment Fund.

The Harvard Art Museums are committed to accessibility for all visitors. For anyone requiring accessibility accommodations for our programs, please contact us at at least 48 hours in advance.