Portrait of a girl

Roman
Early Imperial Period
A.D. 15–40


Place of Manufacture: Italy, Lazio, Rome

Catalogue Raisonné

Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 336; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 114 (additional published references).

Dimensions

Height: 22.5 cm (8 7/8 in.)

Accession Number

96.697

Medium or Technique

Marble

On View

Classical Roman Gallery (Gallery 213)

Collections

The Ancient World

Classifications

Sculpture

This under life-sized portrait, which was made to be fitted into a complete statue, presents a little girl with full cheeks and a small mouth drawn in at the corners. A double row of curls runs above the girl’s forehead, a new fashion of the time of Tiberius (emperor A.D. 14-37). A braid also rises from the center of the girl’s forehead to the crown of her head, an arrangement seen primarily in portrayals of children. Found in the hypogeum of “Torrecetto” in the area of the Via Flaminia along with 96.699

Her hair is parted in the middle and carried in waves to the sides of the head, covering all but the lobes of the ears. The shorter locks at the front terminate in little curls on either side of the forehead. A braid is laid along the top of the head from forehead to crown. The hair at the back is unfinished.

The base of the neck has been worked for insertion. The end of the nose is broken off, and the right side of the forehead has been slightly injured. Stains or discoloration remain on the face, perhaps from an iron object.

Provenance

February 27, 1894, excavated by Massimiliano Pirani from a site near the Via Flaminia, not far from the Casale di Grottarossa, Rome [see note 1]. By 1896, purchased on the art market, Rome, by Edward Perry Warren (b. 1860 – d. 1928), London [see note 2]; October, 1896, sold by Warren to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 1, 1896)

NOTES:
[1] See Rodolfo Amadeo Lanciani, Storia degli scavi di Roma e notizie intorno le collezioni romane, vol. 1 (1902), p. 28; and Andrea Venier, "I Mosaici ritrovati nell'800 sulla via Flaminia ed esposti in America," available online at http://www.vignaclarablog.it/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/i-mosaici-ritrov.... This was one of eleven marble heads that were found at that time.

[2] According to Warren’s records, this was found in the area of the the Prima Porta near Rome. When it was on the art market, it was photographed. For further information see M. B. Comstock and C. C. Vermeule, Sculpture in Stone: the Greek, Roman and Etruscan Collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (1976), pp. 212-213, no. 336.

Credit Line

Catharine Page Perkins Fund