Monday, November 16, 2020

Elite Roman portraiture of the Republican Period

 Roman portrait sculpture from the Republican era tends to be somewhat more modest, realistic, and natural compared to early Imperial works  Republican Rome embraced imperfection in portraiture because, though there were different levels of power each class of society had, everybody had physical blemishes, so this type of untouched physical representation fostered a sense of community by implying that, while there were existing inequalities, that did not change the fact that they were Romans. Veristic portraits, including arguably ugly features, was also a way of showing confidence and of placing a value on strength and leadership above superficial beauty. This type of portraiture sought to show what mattered to the Romans - powerful character valued above appearances. This hyper-realism was often achieved through the production of a wax cast from the family member while they were still living,

Image: Sensitively modeled bronze portrait bust of a Roman male with inlaid ivory eyes, 50 BCE - 54 CE courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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