A Roman marble portrait head of the Empress Faustina the Elder

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Lot 219
A Roman marble portrait head of the Empress Faustina the Elder

Sold for £ 31,200 (US$ 43,271) inc. premium
A Roman marble portrait head of the Empress Faustina the Elder
Circa A.D. 140
Her head turned slightly to the left, her eyes gazing left, with incised irises, crescentic drilled pupils and drilled tear ducts, her small nose with drilled nostrils, her mouth slightly smiling with upturned edges, her hair characteristically piled high, with two curling tips bound together at the front and dressed in waves to either side, plaited and coiled into two loops above, with two further plaited bands above, small curls escaping at the nape of the neck and in front of each ear, 11in (28cm) high, mounted

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Acquired at a provincial French auction and accompanied by a French passport.

    Literature:
    Wife of the Antinous Pius (A.D. 86-161), Faustina was bestowed with the title Augusta in A.D. 138 when her husband was crowned Emperor. Known for her moral works with charities and the poor, she also assisted with the education of Roman girls and was one of the most stable and respected Roman empresses. She died only three years after her husband was appointed Emperor, and much loved by him she was officially mourned and deified by the Senate, with a temple in the Forum and statues dedicated to her.

    It is unclear whether this portrait was carved during her short reign as Empress or posthumously, but of the many known portraits of her, this example closely matches an example in the Uffizi, in the style of her hair and the treatment of her eyes, cf. G.A. Mansuelli, Galleria Degli Uffizi, Le Sculture, Part II, (Roma 1961), fig.189, p.141.
A Roman marble portrait head of the Empress Faustina the Elder
A Roman marble portrait head of the Empress Faustina the Elder
A Roman marble portrait head of the Empress Faustina the Elder
A Roman marble portrait head of the Empress Faustina the Elder
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