The American Research Center in Eygpt

Luxor Temple

Luxor Temple

Luxor Temple
Conservation of Roman Wall Paintings
Completed March 2009

06Luxor -_Roman_Painting

Roman senators gathering at the feet of the imperial throne: late 3rd century AD frescoes cleaned. Photo: Michael Jones

ARCE partnered with Chicago House to document, clean and conserve remaining paintings in this late 3rd century Roman legionary shrine, from the reign of Diocletian, within the Luxor Temple. The murals were painted in fresco on lime plaster by a group of exceptionally skilled artists who were probably attached to Diocletian's imperial court.

When the project began in 2005, it was unclear whether there would be enough preserved to justify the effort and expense of a conservation project. The results thus far have exceeded expectations.

Nevertheless, they also highlight two important issues: the tragic loss of so much high quality Roman painting since John Gardner Wilkinson copied these paintings in the mid-19th century; and the dilemma of how to preserve the paintings in the future after the cleaning and conservation without compromising the temple with an intrusive shelter.

The project was completed in 2009.

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