Floor | Roman Art
Imperial Portraits of Private Individuals Gallery
The two previous rooms highlight the mastery with which Roman sculptors created portraits. In this room, dedicated to private portraits from the Imperial period, you can admire the most diverse examples of this art: portraits that seem almost to reveal the character of the sitter (and not always in a flattering light!), or portraits of such a forceful realism as almost to revel in the traces of age or an excessively pleasurable life. Most portraits, however, show the subject in idealized form, adapted to the conventions and norms of the period in which they were created. There were no generally binding rules, but the ubiquitous portraits of the emperor and his family and their images on coins and other everyday objects inspired aristocratic patrons to follow the imperial model. Thus, the hairstyles of empresses and princesses became the models for female hairstyles throughout the Roman Empire; the same applied to the styles of men's hair and beards. Something similar can still be observed today in the impact on clothing and hairstyles exerted by movie stars and social media influencers.