Roman marble head of a woman sculpture, 100-300 A.D

The ancient Romans were great portrait artists, from pictorial representations, steles, niches or sculptures. The sculpture in front of us represents the portrait of a Roman woman and is a great example of the mastery they acquired with marble. The tendencies of the portraits were adopted by the Romans from the Greek tradition. Among the portraits, the most frequent forms are the head and the bust. We also find sculptures of complete figure, but in a smaller number. It can be explained that it was so for economic reasons, being cheaper than the sculpture of a complete figure. Another reason could be a better individual identification and the fact that the head was the center of interest in the portrait. Emperors used portraits for their political programs and to demonstrate power while, in a private sphere, portraits did their function in a funerary context. Busts with descriptions decorated the altars and tombs of the deceased.


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