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Roman Marble Head of Juno
New York | Sculpture
 
Date:  2nd Century AD
Culture:  Roman
Category:  Sculpture
Medium:  Stone
Dimension: H: 13 cm
Price: $30,000.00
Provenance: Ex- American private collection, Texas, ca. 1970; Ex- Tiliakos collection, Massachusetts
Serial No: 35012

The head represents a young woman crowned with the diadem and covered by veil. Her ideal features are regular and well-proportioned; the soft wavy locks are parted in the middle and rolled up according to the fashion of Classical hair-style. The diadem is decorated with the symmetrical composition of rinceaux patterns; the marble relief imitates a splendid decoration in repoussé of the golden piece. The combination of features, details and style suggest that this is a not an individual portrait of a Roman woman but rather the head of a goddess, most probably Juno, Jupiter’s spouse.

There is a good deal of evidence that the head belonged to a relief figure on the sarcophagus panel. The damaged area on one side of the back of the head specifies its connection to the background, while the shape of the proper right half of the face is somewhat reduced. The foreshortening indicates that this half was less visible, i.e. the head of the figure in high relief was turned to the right. Also the size of the head is in the correspondence with the average height of the relief figures of the Roman Imperial sarcophagi.

In choosing the appropriate subjects for these monuments, the Roman sculptors followed a few specific types, with major division on the mythological and biographical subjects. The battle and clemency scenes, sacrifices, scenes from private life, and marriage among them, related to the life of the deceased. An accepted thing for the marriage representation would be that the groom and the bride with portrayal features, shown joining of hands, dextrarum iunctio, appear in the company of the Roman deities, Juno, Venus, cupids, Hymenaeus, and allegorical figures. Juno, married only once to Jupiter, was a major patroness of the family, women and their children, symbolizing the harmony of the union and family life. Her figure is often placed between the groom and the bride as she is pronuba, an attendant of the bride; most commonly, her face is turned to the latter, and her arms are placed across their shoulders.