In this portrait head, framed with a sumptuous and artfully elaborate hairstyle, we may make out the Syrian empress Julia Domna. Wife of Emperor Septimius Severus, mother of Geta and Caracalla, she went down in history as the ‘philosopher empress’. The appellative ‘philosopher’, quite unusual among female figures of the ancient world, reflects the extraordinary role that she played on a cultural level, inspiring the creation and activity of a philosophical circle, a cenacle of learned men devoted to literature and to philosophical and religious study.
The work, made up of the portrait head and a non-matching bust, bears the signs of the skilful restoration carried out by Bartolomeo Cavaceppi.
Inventory: MT 573
Material: White marble
Technique: Work sculpted through the use of: chisels (also square-tipped and toothed), rasps
Dating: Imperial era