Portraiture of Faustina the Elder


Up to Imperial Portraits

Faustina was

Wife of Antoninus Pius

Mother of Faustina the Younger

Step-mother of Marcus Aurelius

Niece of Hadrian

  William Storage and Laura Maish
Email us about this page

See also: Faustina's Nose Job, our analysis of the restoration of the statue of Faustina at the Getty Villa.


Annia Galeria Faustina born September 21 ~100, died 141.

Portraits of Faustina, like all imperial portraits of her era, can be identified by her hairstyle and by comparison to numismatic images. Her facial features on coins vary widely, while the hairstyle remains virtually constant on all numismatic images.


Denarius - DIVA FAVSTINA - Draped bust right. Reverse: AETERNITAS - Providentia standing left holding globe and veil blown out behind head. Rome mint AD 141. RIC III, p. 70, 351; Cohen 32; D. Sear II, p. 268, 4578.

Wide range of profiles seen in Faustina's numismatic portraits

Guide to photos of marble portraits (below):

1, 2: Fragment of Faustina (?) head in the Palazzo Massimo, Museo Nazionale Romano.

3: Bust of Faustina the Elder from the villa of Antoninus Pius in Lanuvio. Museo Capitolino inv. MC447.

4: Postumous portrait of Faustina found in 1874, near the Horti di Maecenas on the Esquiline Hill, Rome. Museo Capitolino (Montemartini), MC inv. 1083.

5-9: Colossal bust of Faustina from the Round Room in the Vatican Museum

10: Vatican Museum, head, inventory no. unknown.

11: Early portrait (~138-150, on non-original bust) of Faustina in Luni marble. Found in 1880 in the vicinity of Via Principe Eugenio. Museo Capitolino inv. MC851.

12- 18: Statue of Faustina in the Getty Villa, Malibu, CA. Getty inv. 70.AA.113. This larger-than-life (82 inches) Getty statue uses a standardized body type, the "Large Herculaneum Woman",  with a conventional portrait head of Faustina from fairly late in her life. The statue, possibly posthumous, is from Asia Minor.

19-20: Our digitally-rendered adjustments to the nose restoration of the Getty Faustina. We have applied facial proportions measured on the Lanuvio head (photo 3) to the Getty head and (digitally) given her a new nose, which might be closer to the original nose of the Getty statue. For details of this analysis, see this page on the nose restoration of the Getty statue.


  Larger images





 Page created 6/10/08. Copyright 2008 by Bill Storage and Laura Maish. All rights reserved.

 Keywords: imperial portraiture, restoration, Getty Villa, Faustina Mother, Faustina I sculpture, art history, iconography, archaeology, anthropometry, Roman, Rome, ancient