Marble statue of a member of the imperial family


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 162

A gilded band, which has changed to a purple color, lines the hem of the figure’s mantle. Scientific analyses have confirmed the presence of gold nanoparticles that indicate the degradation of gold leaf. Common in Roman sculptural polychromy, gold leaf typically adorned the hair and garments of deities and imperial subjects. This sculpture was once part of a group commemorating the Julio-Claudian emperor and his family. Statues of members of the imperial family were often displayed together in public spaces such as a city’s forum, a bath, or the theater.

Marble statue of a member of the imperial family, Marble, Roman

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