A Roman marble head of the Empress Livia
Lot 201
A Roman marble head of the Empress Livia
Sold for £36,000 (US$ 60,473) inc. premium
Auction Details
Lot Details
A Roman marble head of the Empress Livia
Late 1st Century B.C. - early 1st Century A.D.
Depicted in her youth, soft-skinned with curving lips drilled at the edges, her wide eyes with defined lids, her head turned slightly to the right, her hair characteristically dressed with a rolled lock across her forehead drawn back in three sections behind and at the sides in wavy strands, 13¾in. (35cm.) high, mounted


  • Provenance:
    Acquired by the present English owner over 30 years ago, and previously in a private European collection.

    Here the Empress (58 B.C. - A.D. 29) is portrayed as a young woman, her hairstyle with the characteristic lock over the forehead can also be seen on another portrait of Livia in the Liverpool Museum (no.3350), formerly in Marbury Hall, Cheshire (see Christie's, London, Classical Sculpture Formerly from Marbury Hall, Friday 10 July 1987, pp.18-19, lot 4) and another portrait in the Museo Nazionale, Rome. Livia was the wife of Augustus for over fifty years, from 38 B.C. until his death in A.D. 14, an astonishingly long time in view of life expectancy in ancient Rome. Livia Drusilla played a major role in Roman power politics; she was the Wife of the first Emperor Augustus the Mother of the second, Tiberius from her first marriage, Grandmother of the Emperor Claudius and great Grandmother of the infamous Caligula.

    Production and distribution of this type of ideal portriat was part of a deliberate campaign by the Emperor Augustus to demonstrate peace and prosperity in the new Roman Empire.