Head of a woman Artist: Unknown

150 B.C.–A.D. 100

Ancient Art

The distinctive features of this head, of a type traditionally called "Syrian," suggest that it is a portrait of a real but unknown woman. Anomalies in its style and bearing as well as problems deriving from excessive cleaning in the nineteenth century prevent an attribution of it to a specific period or place. The soft modeling of the facial features, the hairstyle, and the raised and turned head follow the Hellenistic tradition of sculpture, seen in the Yale University Art Gallery's Head of Aphrodite or a Muse (1882.2). These elements and the eastern features are similar to those found in portraits of Kleopatra VII (reigned 69–30 B.C.), but no positive identification can be made. The head's cool and impassive bearing, moreover, relate it to the style of portraits of the empress Livia from the first half of the first century A.D.




30 × 19 × 21 cm (11 13/16 × 7 1/2 × 8 1/4 in.)

Credit Line

Bequest of Adra M. Newell

Accession Number





Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of records is ongoing.



Ex coll. E.T. Newell; left by him at his death in 1941 to his wife, Adra M. Newell; bequeathed by her to the Art Gallery.

  • Essi Ronkko and Hood Museum of Art, "Hood Museum," http://hoodmuseum.dartmouth.edu (accessed June 2011-July 2021).
  • Cornelius Vermeule, Greek and Roman Sculpture in America, 1st (Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1981), 148, no. 117, ill.
  • "Recent Gifts and Purchases," Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin 32, no. 1 (Spring 1968): 46.
  • Cornelius Vermeule, A Bibliography of Applied Numismatics in the Fields of Greek and Roman Archaeology and the Fine Arts (London: Spink and Son, 1956), 162.

Object copyright
Additional information

Object/Work type

busts (sculpture), human figures (visual works), portraits

Technical metadata and APIs


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