L'acconciatura a toupet di riccioli nei ritratti femminili scolpiti e dipinti: cronologia e valenze sociali
In: Bullettino della Commissione Archeologica Comunale di Roma: 118, 2018
During the imperial age, hairstyle was one of the most effective means of expression about the role and values that family and society entrusted to women. It is therefore a fundamental feature of female portraiture, which might be useful both for issues of chronology of the sculptures, reliefs and paintings, and for comprehending the social context of the women portrayed. This paper is focused on the typological-stylistic analysis of the toupet with curls, and aims to provide a new chronological grid for a wide range of female portraits of non-imperial women from the Flavian to the Hadrianic periods, as well as to contribute new insights into the issue of the relationship between imperial and private portraits. The first part of this paper analyses marble portraits and their chronology. It purports to show how such hairstyle remains fashionable till to the Hadrianic period, quite possibly for its aesthetic qualities and elegance and because it had become a marker for social status and wealth, certainly due to the laborious make-up that it entailed. The high artistic quality of many portraits of the Hadrianic age demonstrates that this is not a mere survival of precedent epochs. In the second part a few hypotheses are presented about the variety of hairstyles in private female portraits in the first decades of the second century AD. In the third part, the author analyzes the coeval attestation of such elaborate hairstyle in Fayyum painted portraits, which are compared with sculptural portraits in the fourth and last part, in an attempt to offer possible interpretations of the discrepancies noted in the two media.