A large Roman marble female portrait head

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Lot 80
A large Roman marble female portrait head

£ 20,000 - 30,000
US$ 27,000 - 41,000
A large Roman marble female portrait head
Julio-Claudian, circa 1st Century A.D.
Over life-size, possibly depicting Antonia the Younger, facing frontally with the large eyes finely carved, the curling hair centrally-parted, falling low across the forehead and over the ears, bound with a twisted fillet and drawn back into a chignon at the nape of the neck, 9in (23cm) high, mounted

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    French private collection, Paris, formed between the 1960s and 1980s.
    Acquired at Jean Loiseau & Alain Schmitz, Saint Germain-en-Laye, Archéologie, 17 January 1988, lot 99. Accompanied by a copy of the receipt and catalogue.

    Literature:
    The size of this head indicates that the subject was likely from the Julio-Claudian Imperial family. The centrally-parted curls drawn into a knot can be seen as typical of the simple, classicising style popular in the portraits of the Julio-Claudian women. Cf. D. Kleiner, Roman Sculpture, Yale, 1992, p. 139. However the inconsistent iconography and classicising style of Julio-Claudian female portraiture such as those depicting Octavia, Livia, Julia and Antonia, make attributions particularly complex.

    However this particular hairstyle was popularized by Antonia the Younger, and the head with its smooth skin, large eyes and strong idealised features bears distinct similarity to another portrait of Antonia from Tralles in Asia Minor, now in the Ny Carlsberg Glyptothek, Copenhagen, inv. no. 743. Antonia was the daughter of Mark Antony, the niece of the Emperor Augustus, sister-in-law of the Emperor Tiberius, and the mother of the Emperor Claudius. She committed suicide in A.D. 37 aged 73, having outlived most of her family.
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A large Roman marble female portrait head
A large Roman marble female portrait head
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