A portrait bust of a Flavian matron depicting a member of Ancient Roman nobility recently was selected by The Georgia Welles Apollo Society as a gift to the Toledo Museum of Art’s collection.
The sophisticated Ancient Roman woman is framed by carefully chiseled corkscrew curls, a standard hairstyle of the time, and her cheeks are stained with a faint yellow, a sign the bust was most likely part of a memorial to the deceased. (Dabbing palm oil on the cheeks of these funerary sculptures was one of the rituals of Ancient Romans.) It is on display in the Museum’s Classic Court.
“Her face is intact, which is exceptional,” said Adam Levine, associate director and lead curator for this year’s Apollo selection process. “We don’t know who she was, but she was obviously a woman of some means to have this bust made.”
The Georgia Welles Apollo Society, formerly known as the Apollo Society, is a group of donors who pool their funds annually to purchase a work of art for the Museum. The organization’s name was changed in June from The Apollo Society to The Georgia Welles Apollo Society on the occasion of the group’s 30th anniversary and in recognition of local arts patron Georgia Welles who has played an instrumental role in the group’s success since its inception.