Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Marble Portrait Bust of a Woman with a Scroll

Date:
late 4th–early 5th century
Geography:
Made in Constantinople
Culture:
Byzantine
Medium:
Pentelic Marble
Dimensions:
Overall: 20 7/8 x 10 13/16 x 8 3/4 in. (53 x 27.5 x 22.2 cm)
Base: 1 7/8 x 12 1/2 x 6 3/4in. (4.8 x 31.8 x 17.1cm)
Classification:
Sculpture-Stone
Credit Line:
The Cloisters Collection, 1966
Accession Number:
66.25
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 301
This sensitively carved portrait bust presents a mature woman with a thoughtful expression and piercing gaze; the scroll held in her right hand signals an appreciation for classical learning and marks her as a member of the elite. She wears a mantle, tunic, and head covering, typical dress for an aristocratic woman. Such head coverings did not come into fashion until the fourth century. The bust likely formed part of a commemorative display, perhaps documenting a public donation, or was used in a domestic setting.
Possibly found in Istanbul; [ John J. Klejman American, New York (from at least 1965-1966)]
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Patterns of Collecting," December 6, 1975–March 23, 1976.

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