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Sculpture Busts

Bust sculptures refer to figurative sculptures that portray the upper portion of the human figure: head, neck, shoulders, and part of the chest. Ancient Romans embraced and evolved this art form, adapting it to various points in their cultural history.

The development of Roman portraiture, including bust sculptures, was tied closely to the development of Roman society and government. In its early uses, portraiture was closely associated with funerary settings. In this context, the upper classes would often display portrait masks to memorialize their distinguished ancestry, thereby celebrating a family history of public service while honoring their family.

In the time of the Roman Republic, public sculpture became more popular. It was common for honorific statues of political or military officials to be erected in celebration of their achievements. During the reign of Augustus (27 B.C.-14 A.D.), the imperial family and their associates dominated public sculpture with official bust statues carefully designed in order to project specific ideas about Augustus and his family.


Quick Facts

  • Sculptural portrait heads from classical antiquities are sometimes displayed as busts, but these are actually often fragments from full-body statues
  • In the instance of "bad" emperors, imperial portraits were sometimes recycled or destroyed
  • The wax portrait masks of deceased ancestors that ancient Romans displayed in their homes are referred to as "imagines"

Recommended Items at Auction

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PAIR ANTIQUE BRONZE ART NOUVEAU LADIES BUSTS
Dec 04, 1:00 PM EST
PAIR ANTIQUE BRONZE ART NOUVEAU LADIES BUSTS
by Charleston Estate Auctions
Est: $300- $400
$406 Bids
Antique Grand Tour Spelter Bust of Ajax
Dec 06, 12:00 PM EST
Antique Grand Tour Spelter Bust of Ajax
by Akiba Antiques
Est: $50- $500
$254 Bids
S. Telriv Miniature Gilt Bronze Maiden's Bust
Dec 06, 12:00 PM EST
S. Telriv Miniature Gilt Bronze Maiden's Bust
by Akiba Antiques
Est: $50- $500
$753 Bids
Italian Maiden Bust - on reconstituted marble plinth, in period dress, signed A. Giannelli. 24cm high
Dec 07, 7:00 PM AEDT
Italian Maiden Bust - on reconstituted marble plinth, in period dress, signed A. Giannelli. 24cm high
by Bargain Hunt Auctions
Est: AUD0- AUD0
AUD353 Bids
3 PARIAN BUSTS, SHAKESPEARE, ROBBIE BURNS & R. W. EMERSON (9" X 6" , 13 3/4" X 9" & 14" X 10")
Dec 04, 10:30 AM EST
3 PARIAN BUSTS, SHAKESPEARE, ROBBIE BURNS & R. W. EMERSON (9" X 6" , 13 3/4" X 9" & 14" X 10")
by Carlsen Gallery, Inc.
Est: $200- $500
$1752 Bids
Gilt And Silvered Bronze Jeanne Hachette Bust
Dec 06, 12:00 PM EST
Gilt And Silvered Bronze Jeanne Hachette Bust
by Akiba Antiques
Est: $100- $1,000
$752 Bids
Large Green Fluorite Carved Head Sculpture
Dec 17, 7:00 PM EST
Large Green Fluorite Carved Head Sculpture
by Tunicks Auction Gallery
Est: $100- $300
$501 Bid
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Bruno Chersicla (1937-2013) - Head of young people, 2001
Dec 05, 10:30 AM CET
Bruno Chersicla (1937-2013) - Head of young people, 2001
by Finarte
Est: €80- €120
€801 Bid
OGGETTISTICA
Dec 06, 10:00 AM CET
OGGETTISTICA
by Aste Boetto SRL
Est: €100- €150
€1001 Bid
VITA NOVA edizione illustrata da Pericle Fazzini del famoso
Dec 06, 10:00 AM CET
VITA NOVA edizione illustrata da Pericle Fazzini del famoso
by LiveBid
Est: €250- €500
€501 Bid
Vtg HOLLAND MOLD Signed Ceramic Bust of Woman
Dec 21, 10:00 AM EST
Vtg HOLLAND MOLD Signed Ceramic Bust of Woman
by The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc.
Est: $30- $60
$11 Bid
Vintage Bronze Woman's Bust Wall Sculpture
Dec 06, 12:00 PM EST
Vintage Bronze Woman's Bust Wall Sculpture
by Akiba Antiques
Est: $50- $500
$251 Bid
Buste d'un empereur romain, XVIIIe-XIXe s
Dec 08, 6:30 PM CET
Buste d'un empereur romain, XVIIIe-XIXe s
by Geneve Encheres
Est: CHF1,000- CHF1,500
CHF1,0001 Bid
MODERNIST CARVED HARDSTONE BUST
Dec 14, 9:00 AM CST
MODERNIST CARVED HARDSTONE BUST
by Jackson's International
Est: $150- $250
$1301 Bid
Bust emperor Caesar Augustus.
Dec 06, 8:00 PM CET
Bust emperor Caesar Augustus.
by Unicart Auctions
Est: €2,300- €2,900
€1,4001 Bid
C. Cipriani - Victorian Alabaster Bust
Dec 17, 10:00 AM EST
C. Cipriani - Victorian Alabaster Bust
by Regency Auction House
Est: $300- $400
$1501 Bid
Teddy Roosevelt "Quote" Brass Plaque
Dec 08, 10:00 AM CST
Teddy Roosevelt "Quote" Brass Plaque
by Matthews Auctions, LLC
Est: $0- $0
$251 Bid
Villanis, Emmanuel (Lille, Paris 1858-1914) , nach
Dec 08, 10:00 AM CET
Villanis, Emmanuel (Lille, Paris 1858-1914) , nach
by Leo Spik
Est: €380- €456
€3001 Bid
BUST OF A CHILD
Dec 07, 3:00 PM CET
BUST OF A CHILD
by Im Kinsky
Est: €2,500- €5,000
€2,5001 Bid
French Art Déco bronze and ivory sculpture - ca. 1900, sculptor EUGENE HANNOTEAU
Dec 07, 3:00 PM CET
French Art Déco bronze and ivory sculpture - ca. 1900, sculptor EUGENE HANNOTEAU
by Bertolami Fine Art
Est: €800- €1,200
€5501 Bid
Plastic Mens Torso Display Bust. 71cm high
Dec 07, 7:00 PM AEDT
Plastic Mens Torso Display Bust. 71cm high
by Bargain Hunt Auctions
Est: AUD0- AUD0
AUD201 Bid
Italian Marble Art Nouveau Bust
Dec 10, 10:00 AM CST
Italian Marble Art Nouveau Bust
by Link Auction Galleries
Est: $325- $375
$1501 Bid

Sellers Who Sell Sculpture Busts


Artcurial

Artcurial

Sotheby's

Sotheby's

Crait-Muller

Crait-Muller

Designer Homes of Central Florida

Designer Homes of Central Florida