Conspectus of Roman Emperor’s Portraiture and the Case of the Nerva-Antonine Dynasty

  • Dr. Kitsirin Kitisakon Assistant Professor, Department of Visual Arts, Faculty of Fine and Applied Arts, Chulalongkorn University.
Keywords: Emperor, Roman Empire, Portrait, Sculpture


This article studied the process of creating portraits of Roman emperors, especially those of the Nerva-Antonine dynasty and the case of Lucius Verus. The author focused on three points as follows: 1. the idea behind the emperor’s portrait, starting from the first Roman emperor, Augustus, with his typical fringes and his beardless appearance which refers to the new era, to Constantine’s portrait where the realistic aspect was excluded due to the evolution of the portrait itself and the different politico-religious context of the 3rd century; 2. The interesting representations of Roman rulers during the Nerva-Antonin dynasty commencing with the appropriation of Augustus’ hairstyle and his young face, which then developed into the Greek style with a beard and curly hair, while the expression from the eyes was clearly shown too; 3. the case of Lucius Verus, emperor of the Nerva-Antonin dynasty, by focusing on an analysis of artwork number 1170, currently in the Louvre Museum, then comparing it with other portraits of him, as well as the one of his co-emperors, Marcus Aurelius, carved during the same period.


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