It is well known that Roman emperors often
opted to have their portraits carved depicting
them in the guise of their favorite god. However,
this trend was not limited to the emperors alone,
for members of the imperial family and even
ordinary citizens commissioned portraits of
themselves as divinities. Roman women
specifically chose to have themselves represented
in the guise of Venus more frequently than any
other goddess, no doubt due to her divine nature
as the goddess of love. This gorgeous marble
bust dates from the end of the Hellenistic Age
until the beginning of the Roman Imperial Era.
Due to the enormous influence of Greek art on
the art of Rome, it is often difficult to determine
just precisely where a work comes from. The
tendencies of Roman artists to copy Greek
originals further complicates this issue. Here is
depicted the bust of a beautiful young woman.
Her hair is parted down the middle in the front,
and curly locks fall down in front of her ears,
framing her face. Who is this lovely woman?
Could she be a queen or empress? Perhaps she
is a priestess? Could it be that she is not human
at all, but divine?