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During the era of the roman republic, they considered it a character sign not to cover or manipulate any physical imperfections and the depiction of men particularly as unconcerned and rugged, especially unconcerned with any form of vanity. Statues with more idealism of Emperors of the Roman Empire got ubiquitous over the imperial era, especially with connection to Rome’s state religion. Tombstones, even those of the modestly well off middle class, exhibited the portraits of unknown dead relatives which were carved in relief. This paper aims to compare the bust of a man and the bust of Emperor Commodus while paying attention to the bust’s formal features, and it further, considers how and why each portrait works to idealize the sitter.
The bust of Emperor Commodus and that of man are practically two contradictory artefacts. The two artefacts have distinctly varied characteristics with both possessing different styles. The bust of a man is of a veristic style while the bust of Emperor Commodus is of the Augustus style from prima porta. With each of these styles come different characteristics and representations. The bust of a man has a relation to old fashioned morality, which is a virtuous Roman concept (Fejfer, 2009 p243). Generally, the veristic style consists entirely of later life portraits of men, who more often than not are toothless and balding and consists of faces with poor aging qualities and wrinkles. The bust of a man is a perfect example of this style. The bust seems to be representative of men who are or are aging. In the Veristic style, age is taken quite seriously as it signifies and shows endurance and courage, which man has had to endure through out his life. The portraits physical qualities, which follow veristic styles, are reflective of society and class, which they belong to. The pained and twisted expression on the bust of man are testimony of the similar fashion with which the civil war tore apart the society
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