Portrait of a woman

Roman
Imperial Period
A.D. 100–125


Place of Manufacture: Greece (possibly)

Dimensions

35 cm (13 3/4 in.)

Accession Number

1992.575

Medium or Technique

Marble, probably from the Greek island of Paros

On View

Classical Roman Gallery (Gallery 213)

Collections

The Ancient World

Classifications

Sculpture

This bust shows a woman wearing an extravagant hairstyle typical of the late first and early second centuries A.D. Her hair is worn in a high crest of tight curls over the forehead and ears while at the back of her head, the hair is braided into a ring-like bun. Such hairstyles could be achieved using only a woman’s natural hair, although the rendering of the hair around the ears in this portrait suggests that the sitter is shown wearing a wig.

The full lips, cheeks, and flattish nose indicate a distinct though otherwise unknown individual.

There are remains of a mantle around back and sides of neck, and the bust has a break at the collar-bone level.

Provenance

By 1991: with the Merrin Gallery, 724 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10019; 1992: partial year-end gift of Samuel and Edward Merrin and partial purchase by MFA from the Merrin Gallery; accessioned January 27, 1993

Credit Line

Gift of Samuel and Edward Merrin and Museum purchase with funds by exchange from the Benjamin and Lucy Rowland Collection and a Gift of Barbara Deering Danielson, and the William Francis Warden Fund