H: 10" Cold Cast Marble-like Resin
This figurine represents a woman from the Julio-Claudian dynasty of Rome. Which woman?
It closely resembles a Louvre statue of Livia Drusilla, after 14 AD called Julia Augusta, who was the wife of Augustus and one of the most powerful women in the Roman Empire.
Livia would set the pattern for the noble Roman matrona. The matrona wore neither excessive jewelry nor pretentious costumes, she took care of the household and her husband (often making his clothes herself), and was always faithful and dedicated.
In 35 BC Octavian gave Livia the unprecedented honour of ruling her own finances and dedicated a public statue to her. However, a lot of convoluted Roman history later, it would not be until 13 years later in AD 42, under the reign of her grandson Claudius, that all her honours would be restored and her deification finally completed. Named Diva Augusta (The Divine Augusta), she received an elephant-drawn chariot to convey her image to all public games. A statue of her was set up in the temple of Augustus along with her husband's, races were held in her honour, and women were to invoke her name in their sacred oaths.
Livia's image appears in ancient visual media such as coins and portraits. She was the first woman to appear on provincial coins in 16 BC and her portrait images can be chronologically identified partially from the progression of her hair designs, which represented more than keeping up with the fashions of the time as her depiction with such contemporary details translated into a political statement of representing the ideal Roman woman. Livia's image evolves with different styles of portraiture that trace her effect on imperial propaganda that helped bridge the gap between her role as wife to the emperor Augustus, to mother of the emperor Tiberius.
Becoming more than the "beautiful woman" she is described as in ancient texts, Livia serves as a public image for the idealization of Roman feminine qualities, a motherly figure, and eventually a goddesslike representation that alludes to her virtue.
Livia's power in symbolizing the renewal of the Republic with the female virtues Pietas and Concordia in public displays had a dramatic effect on the visual representation of future imperial women as ideal, honorable mothers and wives of Rome.
Here she appears to be portrayed as Ops, more properly Opis, (Latin: "Plenty"), who was a fertility deity and earth-goddess in Roman mythology.
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(some information adapted from Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia)