SPECIAL ADVISORY: The Yale University Art Gallery is open to the public on Friday evenings, Saturdays, and Sundays and offers access to Yale ID holders on weekdays. Learn More

Ancient Art
PrevNext1 of 5
Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
PrevNext2 of 5
Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
PrevNext3 of 5
Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
PrevNext4 of 5
Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
PrevNext5 of 5
Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery

Portrait of Avidia Plautia (mother of Lucius Verus)

ca. A.D. 136–138


54 × 40 × 22 cm (21 1/4 × 15 3/4 × 8 11/16 in.)
Leonard C. Hanna Jr., Class of 1913, and Stephen Carlton Clark, B.A. 1903, Funds
This portrait bust represents an adult woman, dressed in chiton and himation, with a small mouth, heavy brow, and almond-shaped eyes. Her hair is parted in the center and brushed sideways in waves over her ears, then swept upward to form coils of braids on the crown of her head. At least two other replicas of the same portrait type exist, suggesting that its subject is a member of the Roman imperial family. The most likely identification is Avidia Plautia, the mother of the emperor Lucius Verus. It is suggested that this portrait pre-dates the accession of Verus in A.D. 161, belonging instead to the Hadrianic period, when Aelius, Avidia’s husband, served as Caesar and was the designated successor to the imperial throne.
On view
Imperial, Antonine

Unknown (London art market, ex. European collection); Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn., acquired from the above, 1992.


Susan B. Matheson, “A Woman of Consequence,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (1992): 86–93, fig. 1–5.

“Acquisitions 1992,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (1993): 152–53, ill.

Susan B. Matheson and Diana E.E. Kleiner, I Claudia Women in Ancient Rome, exh. cat. (New Haven: Yale University Art Gallery, 1996), 74–75, no. 30, ill.

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 such records is ongoing.