• Portrait of Severus Alexander

    Dimensions:
    height: 43 cm

Portrait of Severus Alexander

Ancient Rome, first half of the 3rd century

The Severan dynasty ended with the 13-year reign of Alexander Severus, who installed his own mother as his co-ruler. The Roman matron took part in military campaigns along with her general son. Despite the complicated political situation in the empire, Alexander Severus’s reign was a splendid and productive time for art. Besides psychological characterization and the creation of a well-finished recognizable image, sculptors found themselves faced with a new set of aesthetic tasks. In the atmosphere of wild, uncertain times there was no call for refined effects that amused and distracted. Elaborate modelling of the marble, luxuriant locks of hair and folds of clothing were superfluous, but the task of producing a strong expressive image with minimal means remained a pressing challenge. The portrait of Alexander Severus, a brilliant military commander, but at the same time a devious schemer, is a splendid example of this kind of approach. The natural turn of the head, the minor asymmetry in the smooth, slightly bloated face – with these sparse devices the sculptor produces an image of an emperor that is just as good as the intricately carved and decorated busts of Caracalla, who reigned a mere five years before Alexander Severus.

Title:

Portrait of Severus Alexander

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Dimensions:

height: 43 cm

Inventory Number:

ГР-6

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