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Gallery Text

As the daughter of Mark Antony, niece of Augustus, sister-in-law of Tiberius, mother of Claudius, and grandmother of Caligula, Antonia (36 BCE–37 CE) was a central member of the imperial court and was only the second woman given the title of Augusta. This head is considered to be one of the most mature representations of Antonia (see coin 12) and may be a copy of the portrait carried during the annual games held on her birthday. The narrow band in her hair may signify her role as priestess of the deified Augustus. This bust was assembled from several parts in the late seventeenth or early eighteenth century, when it was common to restore ancient sculpture to appear “whole” and therefore more beautiful. The head and two sections of the bust are ancient, although from different originals, while the inscribed left shoulder and the hair on the back of the neck are modern.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Bust of Antonia the Younger
Work Type
c. 37-54 CE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Europe
Roman Imperial period, Early
Persistent Link


Level 3, Room 3700, Ancient Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Art, Roman Art
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Physical Descriptions

Parian marble; left shoulder and hair at back restored in Carrara marble
54.5 cm h x 43.5 cm w x 22 cm d (21 7/16 x 17 1/8 x 8 11/16 in.)


Recorded Ownership History
Earls of Pembroke, Wilton House collection, Whiltshire, (by 1751). [Christie's, London, A Selected Portion of the Collection of Ancient Marbles formed by Thomas 8th Earl of Pembroke, July 3, 1961, lot 117]. [Munzen und Medaillen, Basel], sold; to Fogg Art Museum, 1972.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Fund in memory of John Randolph Coleman III, Harvard Class of 1964 and the David M. Robinson Fund
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

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Published Catalogue Text: Stone Sculptures: The Greek, Roman and Etruscan Collections of the Harvard University Art Museums , written 1990

Bust of Antonia

The bust was said to have been carved in Italian marble, but the head seems to be too crystalline and is therefore Greek, specifically Parian. The surfaces have been treated like most marbles surviving from the Renaissance, namely, the end of the hair at the back and the left shoulder were restored in Carrara marble. The remainder of the bust, the subject's right shoulder and lower left breast "are also made of Parian marble, although unrelated to the head, and may possibly have been taken from another classical statue (i.e., another bust)."

Antonia was the daughter of Mark Antony, niece of Augustus, wife of Nero Drusus and mother of Claudius and Germanicus (born 36 B.C., died A.D. 39). This portrait of the courtesy "Empress (Augusta)" in her later years parallels the numismatic likenesses struck in her memory by her grandson Caligula and her son Claudius (third and fourth emperors). The somewhat ideal presentation of a noble lady is based on a prototype probably created late in the reign of Augustus and known in other versions. Like Queen Elizabeth II on coins, she was not portrayed as aging as rapidly in art as in reality. As Erika Simon has observed in connection with a pair of marble busts of great sensitivity, Antonia and Augustus, such portraits were made late in the reign of Tiberius and until A.D. 39 under Caligula because Antonia Minor succeeded Livia as priestess of Divus Augustus in A.D. 29 (Simon, 1982, pp. 236-243, under nos. 166-167).

This replica of the mature likeness of the aristocratic matron Antonia is sometimes confused in the post-Renaissance and modern literature with the bust from the collection of the Hon. Robert Erskine. In the latter instance, however, the bust is entirely restored or, at least, alien (Sotheby Sale, London, 10 July, 1979, pp. 134-135, no. 284).

Cornelius Vermeule and Amy Brauer

Publication History

  • Richard Cowdry, A Description of the Pictures, Statues, Busto's, Basso-Relievo's, and other Curiosities at the Earl of Pembroke's House at Wilton (London, 1751), p. 48.
  • James Kennedy, A New Description of the Pictures, Statues, Bustos, Basso-Relievos, and Other Curiosities at the Earl of Pembroke's House at Wilton (London, 1758), p. 53.
  • George Richardson, Aedes Pembrochianae: Or a Critical Account of the Statues, Bustos, Relievos, Paintings, Medals, and Other Antiquities and Curiosities at Wilton-House (Salisbury, 1774), p. 50.
  • Charles T. Newton, "Notes on the Sculptures at Wilton House", Memoirs Illustrative of the History and Antiquities of Wiltshire, George Bell (London, 1849), 248-78, p. 252, no. 25.
  • Adolf Theodor Friedrich Michaelis, Ancient Marbles in Great Britain, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, UK, 1882), p. 678, no. 25
  • J.J. Bernoulli, Römische Ikonographie, W. Spemann (Berlin, 1886), p. 224, no. 18.
  • Neville R. Wilkinson, Wilton House Guide: A Handbook for Visitors, Chiswick Press (1908), p. 9, no. 25.
  • Frederik Poulsen, Greek and Roman Portraits in English Country Houses, The Clarendon Press (Oxford, England, 1923), pp. 59-60, pl. 39
  • Munzen und Medaillen A.G., auct. cat. (Basel, Switzerland, October 5, 1963), p. 99, no. 190, pl. 67
  • Karin Polaschek, "Studien zur Ikonographie der Antonia Minor", Studia Archaeologica, L'Erma di Bretschneider (Rome, Italy, 1973), no. 15, cover, pp. 19-24, pls. 2.1, 4.1, and 6.1, etc.
  • Fogg Art Museum, Fogg Art Museum Annual Report, 1972-1974 (Cambridge, MA, 1976), p. 73, illus., 103
  • Klaus Fittschen, Katalog der antiken Skulpturen in Schloss Erbach, Mann (Berlin, Germany, 1977), pp. 58-61, under no. 18
  • Katherine Patricia Erhart, "Portrait of Antonia Minor in the Fogg Museum and its Iconographical Traditions", American Journal of Archaeology (1978), 82, pp. 193-212
  • George M. A. Hanfmann and David Gordon Mitten, "The Art of Classical Antiquity", Apollo (May 1978), vol. 107, no. 195, pp. 362-369, p. 366, fig. 10
  • W. Childs, "I. General, I. General Practices", Fasti Archaeologici, Annual Bulletin of Classical Archaeology, International Associaton of Classical Archaeology (Florence, Italy, 1979), p. 30, no. 428
  • Norman Herz and David B. Wenner, "Tracing the Origins of Marble", Archaeology (1981), 34, no. 5, Sept./Oct., pp. 14-21, illus. p. 16
  • George Rapp Jr. and John A. Gifford, "Archaeological Geology", American Scientist (Jan-Feb. 1982), Vol. 70, no. 1, 45-54, p. 50, fig. 4.
  • [Unidentified article], Biblical Illustrator (Summer 1982), p. 20, illus.
  • David Gordon Mitten and Amy Brauer, Dialogue with Antiquity, The Curatorial Achievement of George M. A. Hanfmann, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1982), p. 15, no. 47.
  • Eileen Garred, "Geologists Use Isotopes to Sleuth Out Origins of Marble in Fogg Statue", Harvard Gazette, Harvard University (Cambridge, MA, December 14, 1984), Vol. 80, pp. 1, 16, illus.
  • Stefi Weisburd, "Science for art's sake: Five easy pieces", Science News (1984), Vol. 126, no. 20, p. 311.
  • Ione Mylonas Shear, "v. The Roman West, I. Roman Civilization and Art", Fasti Archaeologici, Annual Bulletin of Classical Archaeology, (1977-1978), International Associaton of Classical Archaeology (Florence, Italy, 1984), p. 699, no. 9827
  • Kristin A. Mortimer and William G. Klingelhofer, Harvard University Art Museums: A Guide to the Collections, Harvard University Art Museums and Abbeville Press (Cambridge and New York, 1986), p. 106, no. 118, ill.
  • Alastair M. Small, "A New Head of Antonia Minor and Its Significance", Mitteilungen des Deutschen archäologischen Instituts, römische Abteilung (1990), Bd. 97, 217-34, pp. 221-23, no. 2, pls. 60 and 66.c.
  • Cornelius C. Vermeule III and Amy Brauer, Stone Sculptures: The Greek, Roman and Etruscan Collections of the Harvard University Art Museums, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1990), p. 148, no. 136
  • Nikos Kokkinos, Antonia Augusta: Portrait of a Great Roman Lady, Routledge (London, 1992), p. 122 and 124-25, fig. 83.
  • Diana E. E. Kleiner, Roman Sculpture, Yale University Press (U.S.) (1992), p. 139, fig. 114.
  • Wendy Watson, Altered States: Conservation, Analysis, and Interpretation of Works of Art, Mount Holyoke College Art Museum (South Hadley, MA, 1994), 134-35, figs. 25.a-c.
  • Diana E. E. Kleiner and Susan B. Matheson, ed., I, Claudia: Women in Ancient Rome, Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, 1996), pp. 60-61, no. 11.
  • Susan Wood, Imperial Women: A Study in Public Images, 40 BC-AD 68, E. J. Brill (Leiden, 1999), pp. 157-58, figs. 60-61.
  • Annelise Freisenbruch, As Mulheres dos Cesares: Sexo, Poder e Politica no Imperio Romano (The First Ladies of Rome -- The Women Behind the Caesars), Texto Editores, Lda. (Alfragide, Portugal, 2013), n.p. fig. 8

Exhibition History

  • Dialogue with Antiquity: The Curatorial Achievement of George M.A. Hanfmann, Fogg Art Museum, 05/07/1982 - 06/26/1982
  • Altered States: Conservation, Analysis and the Interpretation of Works of Art, Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, South Hadley, 04/02/1994 - 05/29/1994
  • I, Claudia: Women in Ancient Rome, Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, 09/06/1996 - 12/01/1996; San Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio, 12/20/1996 - 03/02/1997; North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, 04/06/1997 - 06/15/1997
  • Roman Gallery Installation (long-term), Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 09/16/1999 - 01/20/2008
  • Gods in Color: Painted Sculpture of Classical Antiquity, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 09/22/2007 - 01/20/2008
  • Re-View: S422 Ancient & Byzantine Art & Numismatics, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 04/12/2008 - 06/18/2011
  • Ancient to Modern, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/31/2012 - 06/01/2013
  • 32Q: 3700 Roman, Harvard Art Museums, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050

Subjects and Contexts

  • Google Art Project

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Verification Level

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