Portrait of a woman

Roman
Imperial Period
A.D. 230–240


Catalogue Raisonné

Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 372; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 115 (additional published references).

Dimensions

Height: 22 cm (8 11/16 in.)

Accession Number

1970.325

Medium or Technique

Marble from Göktepe, Turkey (near Aphrodisias)

On View

Classical Roman Gallery (Gallery 213)

Collections

The Ancient World

Classifications

Sculpture

The hairstyle shown here indicates that this lady was a contemporary of the later empresses of the Severan dynasty, Julia Mamaea (d. 325), mother of Severus Alexander (reigned A.D. 222-235) and his wife, Orbiana. This head may have been attached to a standing, fully draped statue set up in a public place in one of the cities throughout the empire where Romans lived.

The woman wears her hair waved around her forehead and caught up into a tightly coiled braid or braids behind, above the nape of her neck.

The nose, the upper part of the chin, the roll of braided hair behind the right ear, and a small piece over the left eye have been broken away. The surfaces, particularly the hair, show remains of a brown deposit, and a light yellow patina or coloring overlays the areas not affected by the incrustation.

Scientific Analysis:

University of South Florida Lab No. 8440: Isotope ratios - delta13C +2.2 / delta18O -2.8,

Istituto di Struttura della Materia - CNR Lab No. 10 (January 30, 2012): maximum grain size: 0.5mm; electron paramagnetic resonance: intensity 7.6%, line width 70.4%

Attribution - Göktepe 3, Turkey (near Aphrodisias). Justification - C and O isotopes, fine grain, pure white, low EPR intensity

Probability of correct quarry assignment (Istituto di Struttura della Materia - CNR Lab No. 10; January 30, 2012):

distance of sample from center of quarry probability field: 4.5; relative probability: 95%; absolute probability 48%

Provenance

By 1969: with Robert E. Hecht, Jr.; gift of Robert E. Hecht, Jr. to MFA, April 8, 1970

Credit Line

Gift of Robert E. Hecht, Jr.