Portrait of a woman
about A.D. 120
Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 349; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 115 (additional published references).
Height x length (of face): 31 x 17.7 cm (12 3/16 x 6 15/16 in.)
Medium or Technique
Marble, dolomitic marble from the Greek island of Thasos
Roman Art Gallery (Gallery 213)
The woman has full, round, and rather fine features. The hairstyle and carving of the eyebrows suggest a date for the head in the reign of the Emperor Domitian (A.D. 81-96), but the sharply delineated mouth and eyelids suggest that this is most likely a work executed under the reign of the Emperor Hadrian (A.D. 117-138).
Her hair is carried high above the forehead in irregular, wavy strands deeply worked with the drill. It is gathered into a large knot behind, below the crown. A small lock falls on either side of the neck. The Irises and pupils are not rendered in sculpture, although incised lines indicate the hair of the eyebrows.
The head has been broken off at the base of the neck. The upper part of the hair over the forehead was made separately and is missing. The tip of the nose has been restored in plaster.
Marble has been scientifically tested with X-Ray Diffraction and determined to be Dolomitic.
Harvard Lab No. HI359: Isotope ratios - delta13C +3.52 / delta18O -3.59, Attribution - Thasos-Cape Vathy, Justification - Dolomitic by XRD.
By date unknown: with Edward Perry Warren (according to Warren's records: Bought in Rome.); March 24, 1903: purchased by MFA from Edward Perry Warren
Francis Bartlett Donation of 1900