Roman Bronze Bust in the Manner of Livia Druscilla

£ 4,000.00

A delicate Roman bronze bust of a female figure, most likely an Empress. She is depicted wearing a Roman cloak, known as a palla, over her stola. Her youthful face glances to the side, her gaze directed downwards. She has delicate features, with almond-shaped eyes, long straight nose and pert mouth. Her hair is elegantly styled, with indented grooves representing the movement of her hair. Distinctively a lock of hair at the front is styled upwards, with the rest parted into three sections. This type of style was particularly favoured by the Roman Empress, Livia Druscilla, and was known as a ‘nodus coiffure;. The bust is decorated in the round and sits on a detachable base.

Height measurements below include the stand. Measurements of bust alone: 7.3cm height, 6cm width.

Date: Circa 1st century BC - 1st century AD
Provenance: Ex JL collection, Surrey.
Condition: Excellent. Beautiful attention to detail and a rare piece.
Product Code: RES-196
Category: Tags: ,

Livia Druscilla was the wife of Octavian Augustus and mother to the Emperor Tiberius. She was born in 58 BC, to Marcus Livius Drusus Claudianus and his wife, Alfidia. A political pawn from a young age, she married Tiberius Claudius Nero in 43 BC, with two children resulting from the union in quick succession. Both her father and husband fought in favour of Julius Caesar’s Republic. Livia Druscilla, in a rare episode of peace, was introduced to Octavian in 39 BC. Legend states that the politician fell immediately in love. They were married in 40 BC, having both divorced their previous spouses, and ruled together for 50 years. Livia Druscilla was a model ‘matrona’, running her household alongside her husband, dedicating herself to his needs. With her sons, she was ruthlessly ambitious; pushing for their elevation in political life. She was to succeed; with her first son becoming Emperor after Augustus.

This particular bust can be identified as Livia, or in the manner of Livia Druscilla, from the characteristic hairstyle. The ‘nodus coiffure’, with it’s thrice-sectioned partings and curled frontal lock of hair, is attributed to other statues of Livia. Most of these examples exist in marble, given her status but they show a distinct similarity to the styling of this bronze bust.

Dimensions W 7.5 x H 12.2 cm



Southern Europe

Reference: For similar styling, in marble: Bonhams, London, Antiquities Auction, 21st April 2005, lot 201

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