Painting of the god Heron
Unknown artist, Romano-Egyptian
Painting of the god Heron, ca. 300
52.4 x 42.6 cm (20 5/8 x 16 3/4 inches) (without frame)
Museum Works of Art Fund 59.030
Shows the God Heron standing in Roman soldier’s costume, to left, sacrificing at a small altar (mostly obliterated).Beside him at right an acolyte and an architectural element.By the God’s head to right is an inscription in greek.This votive panel of the god Heron is one of a handful of paintings from antiquity to survive with its original frame. Although the worship of Heron likely originated in eastern Europe, he was a popular deity with the Roman army and found easy access into the pantheon of Greco-Roman Egypt as a ‘savior’ god. Here he is depicted in Roman military dress, making an offering at an altar. Behind him is a small figure of the donor or a servant, as well as a griffin holding the Wheel of Nemesis. The goddess of divine retribution, Nemesis was also popular with the army. The Greek inscription visible behind the god’s head is a dedication on behalf of a man named Pantophemmios. Heron’s stance and wide, staring eyes prefigure depictions of saints in early Byzantine art.