Imperial Colors: The Roman Portrait Busts of Septimius Severus and Julia Domna

Julie Van Voorhis, Mark Abbe, with Juliet Graver Istrabadi
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Imperial Colors focuses on the paired busts of Emperor Septimius Severus (r. 193-211) and his wife, Empress Julia Domna in the Eskenazi Museum of Art, two of the finest known examples of later Roman portrait sculpture. This book presents innovative multidisciplinary research that is accessible both to specialists and generalists. In addition to contextualizing these portraits in the visual art and culture of the wider Roman empire, this publication will provide the first detailed and secure evidence for their original appearances. Highlights of this include the recently discovered vestiges of colorful paint, fresh insights into masterful marble polishes, and fascinating possibilities regarding their production and display in antiquity. These sculptures are also carefully constructed images, designed to promote political ideas. They represent continuity with older Imperial models but were updated to create a distinctive visual language for the new Imperial house.