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Archeological Object

Female head

Female head

The head was part of a full-length statue, larger than life-size, and has a fracture at the base of the neck. The  facial features are typically Hellenistic: a regular oval face, the high and well arched forehead, the long and narrow nose with a slightly aquiline profile; the sculpture was not affected in any way by the rules of Egyptian art. The woman is depicted with a hairstyle that gently frames her face: the hair is divided into two bands starting at the top of the forehead and covering the upper lobes of the ears; they are joined with the other hair in a bun behind the nape of her neck. The eyes were made of inlaid glass paste.
The sculpture probably belongs to the Ptolemaic Queen Arsinoe III, the wife of Ptolemy IV as demonstrated by some distinctive features of the queen: a large rounded forehead, a pointed chin, the characteristic profile of the nose and the plumpness of her cheeks. The identification of the woman with the Queen Arsinoe III was proposed firstly by Alda Levi and, despite misgivings, this attribution is currently the most reliable.

Further information
Identificazione (Label is not translated)
  Inventory number: inv. s.n.
Precedenti_localizzazioni (Label is not translated)
  Provenance: Unknown
Place of discovery
  Place of discovery:


  Definizione: Statue/head
  Class and ware: Bronzes
  Title or subject:

Female head

Cronologia (Label is not translated)
  Period: Hellenistic period
  Datazione_certa_secolo: 2nd century BC.
Dati_tecnici (Label is not translated)
  Material: Bronze
  Height: 31
  Varie: Conservation status: discreet. Widespread corrosion of the surface and the presence of encrusted limescale.

1927, Levi A., “Un ritratto di Arsinoe III”, in Bollettino d’Arte del Ministero Pubblica Istruzione VI, p. 548

1962, Crome F., “Ein Alexandrinischer Aphroditekopf in Mantua”, in Atti e mem. Accademia Virgiliana XXXIII, p.89

1983, Donatelli L.,  “La raccolta egizia di Giuseppe Acerbi”, Mantova, p. 41

2008, Ghisellini E., “La regina Arsinoe. Un ritratto bronzeo tolemaico da Mantova a Roma”, Roma, pp. 18-31