Marciana (?)

Imperial Period
about A.D. 100

Catalogue Raisonné

Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 350; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 115 (additional published references).


Height x length (of face): 26.5 x 15.5 cm (10 7/16 x 6 1/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Marble, probably from Göktepe, Turkey (near Aphrodisias)

On View

Michael C. Ruettgers Gallery (Gallery 212C)


The Ancient World



This head from a villa at Subiaco has a hairstyle that closely resembles that of Marciana, the sister of the Emperor Trajan (A.D. 98-117), or her daughter Matidia as they are illustrated on coin portraits. Differences in the physiognomy of the face, however, suggest that this may be a portrait of a private, anonymous individual of the same period.

The carving is somewhat cold and crisp, especially in the detail of the hair above the ears. The flattish role of hair that encircles her forehead is a feature found in the portraits of imperial women in the Trajanic period. The fourteen rows of tight curls that crown her forehead are evocative of the more tousled hairstyles of the earlier, Flavian period; however, the meticulous arrangement and strict order of the rows here are a Trajanic development. The head is the work of an Attic atelier, and was originally either part of a statue or a bust that was exported to Italy or the effort of an Athenian sculptor at Rome, Ostia, or even Naples.

The head has been broken off at the start of the neck; much of the nose and parts of the right ear are missing, and there are other damages and dents. Except for some incrustation on the right side of the face, the surface is in excellent condition, with a patina of a warm ivory tone. The eye-brows are incised, but the iris and pupil were originally indicated by color.

Scientific Analysis:

University of South Florida Lab No. 8428: Isotope ratios - delta13C +2.7 / delta18O -2.3,

Attribution - Göktepe, Turkey (near Aphrodisias). Justification - C and O isotopes, fine grain, pure white, translucent


By 1916: with H. W. Gallandt (said to have been found at Subiaco); July 20, 1916: purchased by MFA through H. W. Gallandt for $ 1,000.00

Credit Line

Arthur Mason Knapp Fund