Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Bronze portrait bust of a Roman matron

Early Imperial, Julio-Claudian
ca. A.D. 20–50
H. 9 1/2 in. (24.1 cm)
Credit Line:
Edith Perry Chapman Fund, 1952
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 166
This bust of a private individual has often been taken to represent one of the emperor Augustus’s descendants, notably his granddaughter Agrippina the Elder, whose hairstyle is closely imitated here. It provides a good illustration of the way in which official images of the emperor and his family influenced Roman private portraits. The bust may have been a dedication, possibly set up in a shrine within the family house.
Said to have been found in Rimini by 1902 (information from Antoine Héron de Villefosse published in Toutain 1913, p. 85) By 1902, said to have been found in Rimini; [by 1908 and until 1928, with Edward P. Warren]; [1928-1952, with H. Asa Thomas, inherited as part of the E.P. Warren estate at the Lewes House, Lewes, UK]; acquired in 1952, purchased from H. Asa Thomas.

Alexander, Christine. 1953. "A Portrait of Livia." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, 11(6): pp. 168–71.

Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1987. Greece and Rome. no. 74, p. 101, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Wood, Susan. 1988. "Memoriae Agrippinae: Agrippina the Elder in Julio-Claudian Art and Propaganda." American Journal of Archaeology, 92(3): pp. 414, 416–7 n. 22, fig. 5.

Bartman, Elizabeth and Cambridge University Press. 1999. Portraits of Livia: Imaging the Imperial Woman in Augustan Rome. p. 224 n. 2, Cambridge.

Milleker, Elizabeth J. 2000. The Year One: Art of the Ancient World East and West no. 37, pp. 55, 206, New York and New Haven: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Dahmen, Karsten. 2001. Untersuchungen zu Form und Funktion kleinformatiger Porträts der römischen Kaiserzeit. no. 164, p. 187, pl. 164, Münster: Scriptorium.

Pollini, John. 2002. Gallo-Roman Bronzes and the Process of Romanization: The Cobanus Hoard. pp. 1788 n.18, 19–20 n.28, 23 n.50, figs. 72–73, Leiden: Brill.

Montebelli, Cristina Ravara. 2004. "Un Busto Riminese di Agrippina Minore al Metropolitan Museum di New York." L'Arco pp. 46–49.

Picón, Carlos A. 2007. Art of the Classical World in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Greece, Cyprus, Etruria, Rome no. 415, pp. 359, 487, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Zanker, Paul. 2016. Roman Portraits: Sculptures in Stone and Bronze in the Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. no. 71, pp. 190,197–98, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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