Description & Technical information

Of middle age, her centrally parted hair pulled back behind the ears and folded into a flat vertical bun at the nape of the neck that is lifted up and fixed on the crown of the head. She turns her gaze slightly to the right, her eyes with incised irises and drilled pupils, her arched brows meeting above her nose, her lips pursed in a faint smile.

The distinctive hairstyle is similar to that worn by Herennia Etruscilla, wife of emperor Trajanus Decius (r. AD 249-251), and Salonina, wife of emperor Gallienus (r. AD 253-268).

Condition: White marble with yellowish-brown patina overall; loss to nose, lips and chin, small area of loss above right temple, and lower right corner of hair; diagonal break to neck. Drilled perforations in chin and nose indicating historic restoration.

Period:  Antiquity
Origin:  Roman empire
Medium: Marble
Dimensions: 20 cm (7⁷/₈ inches)
Provenance: Private collection, France, acquired 19th Century (consistent with Carrara marble socle, nose and chin drilled for restoration, and overall patina)
Literature: Compare a silver coin of Herennia Etruscilla and a gold coin of Salonina both in the British Museum (acc. nos G.2388 and 1867,0101.824). A very similar marble bust is in the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen, inv. no. I.N. 1493; see F. Johansen, Catalogue Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. Roman Portraits, vol. 3, 1995, p. 130-131, no. 54).
Categories: Classical & Egyptian antiquities