A-Level: Identity – portraits in 3D works





In ancient Rome, official portraits were full of political messages. What does Vespasian’s portrait say about him?

Portrait of Vespasian





Capitoline Brutus, 4th-3rd century B.C.E. bronze, 69 cm (Capitoline Museums, Rome)
Once identified as the founder of the Roman Republic, debate over this figure’s true identity rages on.

Capitoline Brutus




Portrait Head of Queen Tiye with a Crown of Two Feathers, c. 1355 B.C.E., Amarna Period, Dynasty 18, New Kingdom, Egypt, yew wood, lapis lazuli, silver, gold, faience, 22.5 cm high (Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection at the Neues Museum, Berlin)
Tiye was a powerful figure, but her royal life was complicated, as demonstrated through this changing statue.

Portrait Head of Queen Tiye


Veristic male portrait (similar to Head of a Roman Patrician), early 1st Century B.C.E., marble, life size (Vatican Museums, Rome)
With age comes experience, and sculptors in the Roman Republic highlighted seniority—warts and all.

Veristic male portrait


The Colossus of Constantine, c. 312-15 (Palazzo dei Conservatori, Musei Capitolini, Rome)
Does the abstraction of form and faraway look in this colossal portrait hint at the growth of Christianity in Rome?

The Colossus of Constantine







A Mayan ruler in ritual dress, Stela 51, Calakmul, Campeche, Mexico, 731 C.E.,(Museo Nacional de Antropología, Mexico D.F.)
Large stone sculptures was the principal medium for presenting Maya political and religious messages to the public.

Classic Maya portrait stelae