Portrait of Arsinoë III
about 215 B.C.
Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 130; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 110 (additional published references).
Height: 35 cm (13 3/4 in.); length (of face): 15.3 cm (6 in.)
Medium or Technique
Marble probably from the Greek island of Paros
Not On View
The piece includes the neck and a part of the bust, which is broken on the right side. The bottom surface is a roughly worked plane with a steep slope downward toward the front. The back of the skull is lacking, the surface being flat, and roughly tooled. The tip of the nose and both ears have been slightly injured. The ears are pierced for earrings; in the top of the head is a drill hole, probably for the attachment of a diadem. The surfaces of the face are slightly stained a yellow-orange color.
Harvard Lab No. HI262: Isotope ratios - delta13C +5.22 / delta18O -3.08, Attribution - Paros 1.
Arsinoë III married her brother, Ptolemy IV, at the age of eighteen. The scholar Eratosthenes portrayed her as a polished and fastidious woman who, unfortunately, fell into disfavor and was murdered shortly before or after her husband’s death. This portrait and that of Ptolemy IV, which were reportedly found together, must have been carved about the same time but not by the same sculptor.
Said to have been found near Hadra (ancient Eleusis near Alexandria). By 1901: with E. P. Warren (according to Warren's records: Bought in Alexandria.); purchased by MFA from E. P. Warren, December 1901
Henry Lillie Pierce Fund