Portrait of Faustina the Elder

Object Details


Portrait of Faustina the Elder






Roman Empire (Place created)


140 - 160




209 × 78 × 55 cm (82 5/16 × 30 11/16 × 21 5/8 in.)

Credit Line:

Gift of J. Paul Getty

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Annia Galeria Faustina, known as Faustina the Elder, was the wife of Antoninus Pius, who ruled the Roman empire from A.D. 137 to 161. She probably married Antoninus Pius about A.D. 110 and they had four children. The marriage appears to have been quite loving compared to others in the Imperial family. Although she died twenty years before him, Antoninus Pius did not remarry. On her death in A.D. 141, Antoninus Pius declared Faustina divine and built a temple in her honor in the Roman Forum.

Portraits of Faustina can be identified by her distinctive hairstyle and facial features. This slightly over life-size statue combines a conventional portrait head for the empress with a standardized body type, referred to as a "Large Herculaneum Woman" by scholars. The size of this statue indicates that it occupied a public space, perhaps a city square or a temple dedicated to the divine Faustina. Although they are now missing, Faustina may have held attributes of poppies and ears of wheat in her lowered left hand. That being the case, this statue would have portrayed the empress in the guise of Ceres, the goddess of fertility.

by 1730 - 1733

Thomas Herbert, Eighth Earl of Pembroke, Fifth Earl of Montgomery, English, 1656 - 1733 (Wilton House, Wiltshire, England), by inheritance to his son, Henry Herbert, 1733.

1733 - 1750

Henry Herbert, Ninth Earl of Pembroke, Sixth Earl of Montgomery, English, 1693 - 1750 (Wilton House, Wiltshire, England), by inheritance to his son, Henry Herbert, 1750.

1750 - 1794

Henry Herbert, Tenth Earl of Pembroke, Seventh Earl of Montgmery, English, 1734 - 1794 (Wilton House, Wiltshire, England), by inheritance to his son, George Augustus Herbert, 1794.

1794 - 1827

George Augustus Herbert, Eleventh Earl of Pembroke, Eighth Earl of Montgomery, English, 1759 - 1827 (Wilton House, Wiltshire, England), by inheritance to his son, Robert Henry Herbert, 1827.

1827 - 1862

Robert Henry Herbert, Twelfth Earl of Pembroke, Ninth Earl of Montgomery, English, 1791 - 1862 (Wilton House, Wiltshire, England), by inheritance to his son, George Herbert, 1862.

1862 - 1895

George Herbert, Thirteenth Earl of Pembroke, Tenth Earl of Montgomery, English, 1850 - 1895 (Wilton House, Wiltshire, England), by inheritance to his son, Sidney Herbert, 1895.

1895 - 1913

Sidney Herbert, Fourteenth Earl of Pembroke, Eleventh Earl of Montgomery, English, 1853 - 1913 (Wilton House, Wiltshire, England), by inheritance to his son, Reginald Herbert, 1913.

1913 - 1952

Reginald Herbert, Fifteenth Earl of Pembroke, Twelfth Earl of Montgomery, English, 1880 - 1960 (Wilton House, Wiltshire, England), sold to J. Paul Getty through Spink & Son, Ltd., 1952.

1952 - 1970

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

Herculaneum Women Installation (November 8, 2007 to October 13, 2008)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa (Malibu), November 8, 2007 to October 13, 2008

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