Portrait Bust of a Woman

Object Details

Title:

Portrait Bust of a Woman

Artist/Maker(s):

Unknown

Culture:

Roman

Date:

150 - 160

Medium:

Marble

Dimensions:

67.5 x 42.5 cm (26 9/16 x 16 3/4 in.)

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Although the woman shown in this Roman portrait bust cannot be identified, stylistic features reveal when and where she was made. Her hairstyle copies one worn by the Empress Faustina, the wife of the emperor Antoninus Pius, who reigned from A.D. 138 to 161. The highly polished surface of the bust also signals an Antonine date for its creation. Portraits of the imperial family defined high style and fashion, setting the standards for private portraiture of the social elite.

This woman appears to be of mature years, yet she displays no physical signs of aging. Roman portraits of women tend to be more idealized and less individualized than those of men. The political or social message that a portrait conveyed was as important as its actual resemblance to the person portrayed. For this reason, portraits of Roman women often are concerned more with representing the latest ideas of fashion and beauty than they are with depicting actual features.

Provenance
- 1983

Bank Leu, A.G. (Zurich, Switzerland), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1983.

Exhibitions
Beyond Beauty: Antiquities as Evidence (December 16, 1997 to January 17, 1999)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), December 16, 1997 to January 17, 1999
Ancient Art from the Permanent Collection (March 16, 1999 to May 23, 2004)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), March 16, 1999 to May 23, 2004
Bibliography

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 1st ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1986), p. 38.

Shelton, Jo-Ann. As the Romans Did. 1988 ill. Cover ill.

Stemmer, Klaus (ed.). Kaiser Marc Aurel und seine Zeit. Exh. cat., Abguss-Sammlung Antiker Plastik. Berlin: 1988. pp. 49-50, cat. no. D 23 (F. Zimmer).

Pfanner, Michael. "Ueber das Herstellen von Portraets," Jahrbuch des Deutschen Archaeologischen Instituts 104 (1989), pp. 157-257. p. 243.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 3rd ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1991), p. 28.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 4th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 25.

Towne Markus, Elana. Masterpieces of the J. Paul Getty Museum: Antiquities. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997) pp. 118-19.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 6th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001), p. 25.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Antiquities Collection (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2002) p. 164.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Antiquities Collection. Rev. ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2010), p. 163.

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