The hairstyle and facial features are those of Aelia Flaccilla, wife of Theodosius I. In about 382 she was the first woman officially to be crowned empress since Constantine the Great's mother and his wife far earlier in the century. Flaccilla was described at her death in 387 as "this ornament of the Empire, this zeal for the faith, this pillar of the church." During her husband's reign Christianity was established as the official religion of the state.
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Title:Head, Possibly of Empress Flaccilla
Dimensions:Overall: 10 11/16 x 6 1/8 x 6 11/16 in. (27.2 x 15.5 x 17 cm) with base: 11 1/4 in. (28.5 cm)
Credit Line:Fletcher Fund, 1947
Baron Max von Heyl, Darmstadt (until 1930); [ Hans M. Calmann (British), London (1933–1938)]; [ Brummer Gallery, Paris and New York (1938–1947)]
Baltimore Museum of Art. "Early Christian and Byzantine art, an exhibition held at the Baltimore Museum of Art," April 25–June 22, 1947.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Age of Spirituality: Late Antique and Early Christian Art, Third to Seventh Century," November 19, 1977–February 12, 1978.
Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Harvard Art Museums. "Byzantine Women and Their World," October 25, 2002–April 28, 2003.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Set in Stone: The Face in Medieval Culture," September 26, 2006–February 18, 2007.
Die Kunstsammlungen Baron Heyl/Darmstadt. Vol. 2. Munich: H. Helbing, 1930. no. 29, p. 4, pl. XII.
Delbrück, Richard. Spätantike kaiserporträts von Constantinus Magnus bis zum ende des Westreichs. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1933. pp. 202–3, pl. 99–101.
Felletti Maj, Bianca Maria. "Contributo alla iconografia del IV secolo: Il ritratto femminile." Critica d'Arte 6, no. 3-4 (1941). no. 30, pp. 83–84, pl. XLVIII n. 12.
Miner, Dorothy, ed. Early Christian and Byzantine Art: An Exhibition Held at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Baltimore: Walters Art Museum, 1947. no. 5, p. 23, pl. VII.
Weitzmann, Kurt. "Byzantine Art and Scholarship in America." American Journal of Archaeology, 2nd series, 51, no. 4 (1947). p. 400, pl. CV–A.
Harrison, Evelyn B. The Athenian Agora: Portrait Sculpture. Vol. 1. Princeton: American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 1953. pp. 71–71, pl. 48a.
Rorimer, James J., and William Holmes Forsyth. "The Medieval Galleries." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 12, no. 6 (February 1954). p. 130.
Bandinelli, Ranuccio Bianchi, ed. Enciclopedia dell'arte antica, classica e orientale. Vol. 3. Rome: Instituto della Enciclopedia Italiana, 1960. p. 704, fig. 861.
von Heintze, Helga. "Ein spätantikes Mädchenporträt in Bonn. Zur stilistischen Entwicklung des Frauenbildnisses im 4. und 5. Jahrhundert." Jahrbuch für Antike und Christentum 14 (1971). pp. 73–75, Taf. 9c, 11c.
Weitzmann, Kurt, ed. Age of Spirituality: Late Antique and Early Christian Art, Third to Seventh Century. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1979. no. 269, pp. 290–291.
Kalavrezou, Ioli. Byzantine Women and their World. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Art Museums, 2003. pp. 81–83, ill.
Little, Charles T., ed. Set in Stone: The Face in Medieval Sculpture. New York, New Haven, and London: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2006. no. 54, pp. 129–131.
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