Portrait of a woman

Roman
Imperial Period
about A.D. 140


Catalogue Raisonné

Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 358; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 115 (additional published references).

Dimensions

Height x length (of face): 48 x 14.3 cm (18 7/8 x 5 5/8 in.)

Accession Number

04.284

Medium or Technique

Marble, from Göktepe, Turkey (near Aphrodisias)

On View

Classical Roman Gallery (Gallery 213)

Collections

The Ancient World

Classifications

Sculpture

This lady wears her hair in a style sometimes called a “tower coiffure,” which was popular at the Roman imperial court in the late Hadrianic and early Antonine periods. Faustina the Elder (died A.D. 141), wife of the Emperor Antoninus Pius (A.D.138-161), set the court fashion for this type of braided hair coiled around the top of the head.

The woman here is characterized by small, close-set eyes and an aquiline nose. The hair at the back of the head and neck is delicately carved, as is the simple, close-fitting chiton.

The tip of the nose, the rims of the ears, and the edges of the bust have been damaged slightly; parts of the forehead, almost into the right eye, have been chipped off as a result of several blows. Cracks run down from the forehead through the right eye to beneath the chin and in the front of the left ear, also to beneath the chin. The surfaces seem to have been cleaned somewhat with acid; otherwise the preservation is excellent.

Scientific Analysis:

University of South Florida Lab No. 8429: Isotope ratios - delta13C +2.6 / delta18O -3.0,

Istituto di Struttura della Materia - CNR Lab No. 6 (January 30, 2012): maximum grain size: 0.55mm; electron paramagnetic resonance: intensity 1.6%, line width 54.5%; color 77%

Attribution - Göktepe, Turkey (near Aphrodisias). Justification - C and O isotopes, fine grain, low EPR intensity

Provenance

By date unknown: with Edward Perry Warren; purchased by MFA from Edward Perry Warren, January 19, 1904

Credit Line

Henry Lillie Pierce Fund