Livia (?)

Imperial Period
about A.D. 14–40


Height: 24 cm (9 7/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


On View

Classical Roman Gallery (Gallery 213)


The Ancient World



Portrait of an Imperial lady, most likely a portrait of Livia (58 B.C. - A.D. 29) made after the death of Augustus in A.D. 14, although identifications of Antonia Minor (36 B.C. - A.D. 37) and Julia (39 B.C. - A.D. 14) have also been made.

The hair is twisted at the back of the head and the neck is broken off diagonally below the chin. The distance from ear to ear is ca. 15 cm and from the root of the nose to the back of the head ca. 21.5 cm. The portrait was intentionally damaged in antiquity, particularly on nose, chin, and proper right side of the hair and at the earlobes. The mass of hair has been abraded here and there and the bun at the back of the head appears to have been originally flat, perhaps due to insufficient stone and/or because the head was designed to be placed against a wall or in a niche. Pitting is visible on the cheeks and forehead.


Said to have been in a French 19th century Collection; by date unknown: said to have been with Jean-Luc Chalmin; by 1994: with Acanthus, 24 East 81st Street, New York, NY 10028; December 1994: purchased from Acanthus by Cornelius C. Vermeule III; gift of Cornelius Vermeule to MFA. (Accession Date: December 15, 1999)

Credit Line

Gift of Cornelius C. Vermeule III in honor of John J. Herrmann, Jr.