We confront a marble portrait head of a young woman, Roman Imperial in date (Antonine or Severan, circa 150 to 200 A.D.), her face articulated with small mouth and full lips, aquiline nose, and almond-shaped eyes with incised irises, and crescentic pupils. The chin has broken away. Her hair is parted at the center, swept back to the ears in deeply lobed tresses, surmounted by a coiled braid, and covered in a long veil. The polished flesh surfaces and beguiling eyes impart a sensuous look to this youthful beauty.
Available Upon Request
New York, on
loan at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, from 2000 – 2020
For a head of a youth which appears to be very close in style see Sotheby’s New York, Antiquities Sale (1 June 1995) Lot 133. The elaborate undulating coiffure of our veiled woman appears to be a revival of a hair style from the period of Trajan. The facial features, in particular the eyes, recall portraits of Faustina the Younger and Faustina the Elder, the wives of Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius.
For a comparable head in Copenhagen (Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek Inv. No. 1530) see V. Poulsen, Les Portraits Romains, Glyptothèque Ny Carlsberg Vol. II (Copenhagen 1974) 90-91 no. 71, pl. CXV.
Also, for an Antonine veiled statue in Rome (Capitoline Museums, Palazzo dei Conservatori Inv. No. S 904) see E. La Rocca and C. Parisi Presicce (Eds.), L’ Età dell’ Equilibrio (98-180 d.c.): Traiano, Adriano, Antonino Pio, Marco Aurelio (Rome 2012) 280 no. I.33 and illustration on p. 147.