Claudius, the Roman emperor

Togatus with head of the Roman emperor Claudius, Marble, Vatican Museums, Rome.

Portraiture is one of the greatest achievements of Roman art. A portrait is the likeness of a particular individual, as opposed to a generalized representation of a god or ideal type. In a portrait statue, the artist concentrated the likeness in the head, usually leaving the body as a generic.  Most often the head was carved separately and then inset in the pre-made body, in this case a man wearing a toga or a togatus .

Here Claudius's head follows the Julio-Claudian portrait tradition and even goes back to style reminiscent of Augustus to strengthen his connection to the imperial house and emphasis his intention to be a consistent leader like Augustus after the insanity of his predecessor Caligula.

Head of the Roman emperor Claudius, who ruled from 41 C.E. To 54 C.E. Marble, Vatican Museums,  Chiaramonti Museum, New wing, 114, Rome, Italy.

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