The J. Paul Getty Museum

Bust of a Woman

Object Details


Bust of a Woman






Roman Empire (Place Created)


about A.D. 130



Object Number:



43 × 42.1 × 24 cm (16 15/16 × 16 9/16 × 9 7/16 in.)

Credit Line:

Gift of J. Paul Getty

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Object Description

J. Paul Getty was especially entranced by this portrait, long believed to represent Sabina (A.D. 83-137), wife of the emperor Hadrian. Distinctive features such as the protruding ears make this identification doubtful. Her hair is fastened in a loose bun typically worn by Greek goddesses. This gives the anonymous sitter the appearance of Classical statuary, a conceit enhanced by the diadem.

- 1939

Alfredo Barsanti (Rome, Italy), sold to J. Paul Getty, 1939.

1939 - 1970

J. Paul Getty, American, 1892 - 1976, donated to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1970.

Caesars and Citizens: Roman Portrait Sculpture from the J. Paul Getty Museum (April 26, 1981 to February 28, 1982)
  • Philbrook Museum of Art (Tulsa), April 26 to July 12, 1981
  • Archer M. Huntington Art Gallery (Austin), September 17 to December 6, 1981
  • Phoenix Art Museum (Phoenix), January 6 to February 28, 1982
I, Claudia: Women in Ancient Rome (September 6, 1996 to June 15, 1997)
  • Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven), September 6 to December 1, 1996
  • San Antonio Museum of Art (San Antonio), December 22, 1996 to March 2, 1997
  • North Carolina Museum of Art (Raleigh), April 6 to June 15, 1997
Classical Connections: The Enduring Influence of Greek and Roman Art (December 16, 2003 to November 9, 2008)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), December 16, 2003 to November 9, 2008
Collector's Choice: J. Paul Getty and His Antiquities (November 18, 2009 to February 8, 2010)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa (Malibu), November 18, 2009 to February 8, 2010

Getty, J. Paul. The History of the Oil Business of George F. and J. Paul Getty from 1903-1939 (1941), pp. 488-92.

Getty, J. Paul, and Ethel Le Vane. Collector's Choice: The Chronicle of an Artistic Odyssey through Europe (London: W. H. Allen, 1955), p. 84; pl. facing p. 273.

Stothart, Herbert. A Handbook of the Sculpture in the J. Paul Getty Museum. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1965), p. 21, no. I-39.

Getty, J. Paul. The Joys of Collecting (New York: Hawthorn Books, Inc., 1965), pp. 76, 84.

Carandini, A. Vibia Sabina. (Florence: 1969), pp. 185-86, no. 51; figs. 226-227.

Del Chiaro, Mario A. Roman Art in West Coast Collections (exh. cat). University Art Gallery, University of California at Santa Barbara, January 10-February 11, 1973 (Santa Barbara: 1973), p. 23, cat. no. 8; p. 62, ill.

Frel, Jirí, and Elizabeth Buckley. Greek and Roman Portraits in the J. Paul Getty Museum. exh. cat. California State University at Northridge, October 16-November 11, 1973 (1973), no. 30.

Vermeule, Cornelius, and Norman Neuerberg. Catalogue of the Ancient Art in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1973), p. 30, no. 64, ill.

Fredericksen, Burton B., ed. The J. Paul Getty Museum: Greek and Roman Antiquities, Western European Paintings, French Decorative Arts of the Eighteenth Century (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1975), p. 59.

Fredericksen, Burton B., Jiří Frel, and Gillian Wilson. Guidebook: The J. Paul Getty Museum. 4th ed. Sandra Morgan, ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1978), p. 52.

Brinkerhoff, Dericksen. "Hypotheses on the History of the Crouching Aphrodite Type in Antiquity." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal, vols. 6/7 (1978-1979), pp. 83-96, p. 85; fig. 4.

Frel, Jirí. In collaboration with Sandra Knudsen Morgan. Roman Portraits in the Getty Museum. Exh. cat. for "Caesars and Citizens," Philbrook Art Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma, April 26-July 12, 1981, pp. 60-61, 126, no. 44, ill.

Jucker, Hans, and Dietrich Willers, eds. Gesichter: Griechische und römische Bildnisse aus schweizer Besitz. Bernischen Historischen Museum, November 6, 1982-February 6, 1983. Exh. cat. (Bern: Archäologisches Seminar der Universität Bern, 1982), p. 129.

Chamay, Jacques, Jiřì Frel, and Jean-Louis Maier. Le monde des Césars: Portraits romains (Geneva: Musée d'art et d'histoire de Genève 1982), p. 129; pls. 24, 24a-b.

Chamay, Jacques and Jean-Louis Maier. "Le Monde des Cesars," Archeologia, vol. 174 (1983), pp. 14-17, p. 129, pls. 24, 24a, 24b.

Goette, Hans R. "Das Bildnis des Marcus Vilonius Varro in Kopenhagen: Zu den Basen von Portraitbüsten und zum Realismus flavisch-traianischer Bildnisse." Boreas 7 (1984), p. 96 [comparanda for no. D.d.].

Wegner, M., and R. Unger. "Verzeichnis der Bildnisse von Hadrian und Sabina," Boreas 7 (1984), pp. 105-156, p. 149.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 1st ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1986), p. 8, fig. 9.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 2nd ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1988), p. 8, fig. 9.

Index der antiken Kunst und Architektur: Denkmäler des griechisch-römischen Altertums in der Photosammlung des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts Rom...Begleitband: Register und Kommentar. (New York : K.G. Saur, 1988), fiche 2632, D5.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 3rd ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1991), p. 5, fig. 5.

Kleiner, Diana E. E., and Susan B. Matheson. I Claudia. Women in Ancient Rome (ex. cat.). Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven CT, Sept. 6-Dec. 1, 1996; San Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio TX, Jan. 3-March 9, 1997; North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh NC, April 6-June 15, 1997. New Haven: 1996, pp. 69-70, no.23.

Quenemoen, Caroline Kerrigan. Claudia in the Classroom. A Secondary Teachers' Curriculum Guide to I Claudia: Women in Ancient Rome, an Exhibition Organized by the Yale University Art Gallery. New Haven: 1997, pp. 18-19; fig. 19.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Antiquities Collection (Los Angeles: 2002), pp. xi-xii, fig. 3.

Grossman, Janet Burnett. Looking at Greek and Roman Sculpture in Stone (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2003), pp. 53, ill.

Vermeule, Cornelius. " Faces of Empire; Julius Caesar to Justinian." The Celator 19, no.12 (December 2005), pp. 24,26, fig. 7 (incorrectly cited as 70.44.100).

Turcan, Robert. Hadrien: Souverain de la romanité (Dijon: Faton, 2008), p. 97, fig. 54.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Antiquities Collection. Rev. ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2010), pp. xii, fig. 3, 162.