Without uncertainty we can affirm that portraiture was one of the most significant genres of the everlasting Roman statuary. The abundance of models that survived all around Europe and the accurate personified forms is a well-known testament of the empire's greatness. Now let’s discover more about the origin and usage of ancient Roman bust sculpture!
The origin of ancient Roman busts
As traditional people, Roman citizens considered family and ancestors of special importance in life, and consequently they were always striving for showing utmost respect for their roots. For example, in the case of a nobleman's death, a waxen mask of the deceased was made and placed on the family's altar, which was the most prominent place inside the domus. As these images only lasted few decades, the family used to order a marble bust that was placed on a shelf in the atrium along with other deceased members of the family, this way composing a genealogical chart. Oddly enough and when not displayed, the death masks of the ancestors were usually worn by family members during funerals.
Later in time, apparently Ancient Roman bust sculpture became a symbol of great wealth, and therefore portraits were sculpted of the living family itself.
Comparison to Greek statuary
What I actually cherish and is really special about Roman sculptures in comparison to the Greek counterparts is the personification. While Greek statuary was created to represent idealized human forms of athletes and gods, Roman statues represented real, ordinary people with their natural beauty and imperfections. The purpose of shaping the stone and displaying was to immortalize.
Our Roman busts for sale
At The Ancient Home we have the pleasure to bring you back the inspiring beauty and greatness of an empire. Busts and much more for your treasured 'domus' can be conveniently found in our wide collection of natural marble reproductions. Check our collection of Roman bust for sale.