Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Marble portrait head of a woman

Imperial, Severan
early 3rd century A.D.
Overall: 8 5/8 × 5 3/4 × 6 7/8 in. (21.9 × 14.6 × 17.5 cm)
Stone Sculpture
Credit Line:
Purchase, Lewis M. Dubroff Gift and Marguerite and Frank A. Cosgrove Jr. Fund, 2013
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 169
The portrait is one of great character, reflecting the personality and physical appearance of the subject. It also illustrates the continuing practice of private individuals of following the fashions set by the imperial court; under the Severan dynasty (A.D. 193–235) hairstyles for both men and women were very restrained in comparison with earlier styles. In addition, the carving at the back of the head indicates that a separate piece of marble was used for part of the coiffure, either a circular bun or a broad ponytail.
[Until 1955, with Ugo Donati, Molinazzi di Monteggio, Lugano, Switzerland]; May 1955, purchased by Erwin Ott from Ugo Donati; from 1955 onwards, collection of Erwin Ott, Switzerland; acquired by Herman Beyeler by descent; until 2013, collection of Herman Beyeler, Switzerland; acquired in 2014, purchased through Sotheby’s New York.

December 6, 2012. Egyptian, Classical and Western Asiatic Antiquities. lot 33, p. 51.

Zanker, Paul. 2016. Roman Portraits: Sculptures in Stone and Bronze in the Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. no. 88, pp. 192, 230, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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