videos + essays
Jean-Antoine Houdon, George Washington
Lack of an American sculptural tradition compelled Jefferson to look to France for this portrait of Washington.
Augustus of Primaporta
Nothing was more important to a Roman emperor than his image.
Marc Quinn, Self
This work is an example of provocation with a purpose.
Rome’s history in four faces at The Met
Realism, ideal beauty, and military might—explore the evolution of Roman portraits and political imagery.
Seated Gudea holding temple plan
Shown with an architectural plan in his lap, this prince constructed temples to the gods and likenesses of himself.
The importance of the archaeological findspot: The Lullingstone Busts
What do we gain when works come from a well-documented excavation?
Portrait of Vespasian
In ancient Rome, official portraits were full of political messages. What does Vespasian’s portrait say about him?
Portrait Bust of a Flavian Woman (Fonseca Bust)
Is this delicate female portrait what we think? Take part in a discussion of a masterpiece we know little about.
Owie Kimou, Portrait Mask (Mblo) of Moya Yanso (Baule peoples)
This mask is a portrait of a particular woman, but was worn and danced by her male relatives.
Once identified as the founder of the Roman Republic, debate over this figure’s true identity rages on.
Portraits of the Four Tetrarchs
Learn how the solid, abstracted forms of these co-emperors reject earlier understanding of the human body.
Portrait Head of Queen Tiye
Tiye was a powerful figure, but her royal life was complicated, as demonstrated through this changing statue.