I came across this portrait bust of a man [Roman 1st Century BCE] the other day online, in the Met’s great collection. Some of my favourite Roman portraiture is Republican. If you like the ‘lived in’ face look, no one did it like these guys. Long days at the office and on the battlefield really took their toll on a person. And this is what the society of the day expected their artists to depict, as they were the values of the time. Devotion to the Republic has really upset him, and that’s a good thing, as no one likes a frivolous politician. It still seems strange to have your face eternally carved into stone with this expression. I’m sure he also had a sense of humour but that’s not what people wanted to see. He couldn’t have been a very serious politician or soldier if he did.

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