Marble head of an elderly woman

Period: Late Republic or Early Augustan

Date: ca. 40–20 B.C.

Culture: Roman

Medium: Marble

Dimensions: 10 1/4 x 6 1/2 x 7 3/4 in. (26 x 16.5 x 19.7 cm)

Classification: Stone Sculpture

Credit Line: Purchase, Philodoroi Gifts, 2000

Accession Number: 2000.38


This portrait of an elderly Roman matron conveys an air of gravitas and dignity that befits the social standing of the subject. Like most portraits of Roman women, this one can be dated closely by the hairstyle, which combines a braided bun worn high on the head and the so-called nodus, a flat braid pulled back over the top of the head.
In antiquity, all marble sculpture was painted. Here, the indication of eyelashes can still be seen on the upper lid of the right eye, and traces of pigment remain on the same eye and on the hair.