Head, Possibly of Empress Flaccilla, Marble, Byzantine

Head, Possibly of Empress Flaccilla

ca. 380–390
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
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 301
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.
Baron Max von Heyl, Darmstadt (until 1930); [ Hans M. Calmann (British), London (1933–1938)]; [ Brummer Gallery, Paris and New York (1938–1947)]
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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.

Brilliant, Richard. "Faces Demanding Attention." Gesta 46, no. 2 (2007). p. 97, fig. 8.

Zanker, Paul. Roman Portraits: Stone and Bronze Sculptures in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2016. no. 90, pp. 193, 232–34.