200–100 BC. Roman Republican. A beautiful stele depicting a couple, the wife is on the left-hand side and the husband on the right. They are both facing forward and the back of the stele is left unworked, suggesting that in the original context this stele was meant to be seen only from the front. The stele’s surface suggests that it was worked only with a chisel (no drill). The two figures have similar facial features: deep, inset eyes, slightly parted lips, straight nose, same working of the hair, but the figure on the left-hand side has a rounder face and a hint of breasts, which lead to identifying her as a woman. The male is clean-shaven, which fits well with the canons for male portraits in the Republican period but it does not borrow all the period face visual citations from Italian Republican sculpture – usually, the men of this time have hyperbolically veristic portraits (more deep-set wrinkles). Therefore, this stele could be a Punic or Egyptian rendering of such Republican reliefs.
Size: L:330mm / W:520mm ; 44.4kg
Provenance: From an old family collection formed in the UK; acquired in the late 1980s; thence by descent.