Worcester Art Musuem

Although art historians tend to dismiss Roman carvings of gods and mythical scenes as slavish copies of Greek originals, they have long admired Roman sculptors’ ability to carve reliefs of contemporaneous events, such as Trajan’s eastern wars, and to create portraits of actual people, such as the second-century C.E. bronze bust of an unknown woman shown here. Also shown on this issue’s cover, the lovely bronze woman exudes a serene peacefulness, as if made of warm flesh rather than cold metal; she modestly folds her hands under her cloak in a gesture of chastity and prudence—values highly regarded in women by the Romans.