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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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19th Century Bronze Bust Of Homer
Feb 22, 10:00 AM EST
19th Century Bronze Bust Of Homer
by Berner's Auction Gallery
Est: $10- $1,000
$5515 Bids
Eugene Aizelin Bronze Head Bust Of Woman
Feb 22, 10:00 AM EST
Eugene Aizelin Bronze Head Bust Of Woman
by Berner's Auction Gallery
Est: $10- $1,000
$7510 Bids
Hans Müller Bronze Bust Of Beethoven
Feb 22, 10:00 AM EST
Hans Müller Bronze Bust Of Beethoven
by Berner's Auction Gallery
Est: $10- $1,000
$11010 Bids
Late 19th Century Silver Plate Over Bronze Bust
Feb 22, 10:00 AM EST
Late 19th Century Silver Plate Over Bronze Bust
by Berner's Auction Gallery
Est: $10- $1,000
$2210 Bids
Marble Head Bust Of Woman
Feb 22, 10:00 AM EST
Marble Head Bust Of Woman
by Berner's Auction Gallery
Est: $10- $1,000
$409 Bids
Emmanuel Villanis Bronze Head Bust
Feb 22, 10:00 AM EST
Emmanuel Villanis Bronze Head Bust
by Berner's Auction Gallery
Est: $10- $1,000
$659 Bids
H. Muller Bronze Head Bust, Napoleon
Feb 22, 10:00 AM EST
H. Muller Bronze Head Bust, Napoleon
by Berner's Auction Gallery
Est: $10- $1,000
$237 Bids
Pair Of French Metal Head Busts On Marble Bases
Feb 22, 10:00 AM EST
Pair Of French Metal Head Busts On Marble Bases
by Berner's Auction Gallery
Est: $10- $1,000
$1307 Bids
“La Sybille” After Emmanuel Villanis 21 in. (53.3 cm.)
Feb 23, 9:00 AM EST
“La Sybille” After Emmanuel Villanis 21 in. (53.3 cm.)
by Apple Tree Auction Center
Est: $0- $0
$806 Bids
MARBLE BUST OF A WOMAN.
Feb 23, 10:00 AM EST
MARBLE BUST OF A WOMAN.
by Quinn's Auction Galleries
Est: $100- $200
$1105 Bids
Rene de Saint Marceaux French Terracotta Mask
Feb 24, 11:00 AM EST
Rene de Saint Marceaux French Terracotta Mask
by Kavanagh Auctions
Est: $50- $15,000
$1405 Bids
Late 19th Century Silver Plate Over Bronze Bust
Feb 22, 10:00 AM EST
Late 19th Century Silver Plate Over Bronze Bust
by Berner's Auction Gallery
Est: $10- $1,000
$175 Bids
DAVE McGARY (1958-2013) COLD PAINTED BRONZE
Feb 24, 12:00 PM CST
DAVE McGARY (1958-2013) COLD PAINTED BRONZE
by Dirk Soulis Auctions
Est: $600- $900
$8505 Bids
Spanish Colonial Carved Wood Head
Feb 22, 9:00 AM PST
Spanish Colonial Carved Wood Head
by Abell Auction
Est: $100- $200
$2005 Bids
Double Eagle Heads
Mar 23, 7:00 AM PDT
Double Eagle Heads
by California Auction Company LLC
Est: $0- $0
$254 Bids
DARARA, Casper. Shona Male & Female
Mar 03, 2:00 PM AEDT
DARARA, Casper. Shona Male & Female
by Theodore Bruce Auctioneers & Valuers
Est: AUD60- AUD90
AUD704 Bids
Antique Parian bust of Clytie, unmarked, approx 28cm H
Feb 25, 10:00 AM AEDT
Antique Parian bust of Clytie, unmarked, approx 28cm H
by Vickers & Hoad
Est: AUD80- AUD120
AUD1004 Bids
AFTER RAPHAEL WHITE MARBLE BUST
Feb 23, 10:00 AM CST
AFTER RAPHAEL WHITE MARBLE BUST
by Selkirk Auctioneers & Appraisers
Est: $200- $500
$1503 Bids
Bronze Head Bust Of Woman On Marble Base
Feb 22, 10:00 AM EST
Bronze Head Bust Of Woman On Marble Base
by Berner's Auction Gallery
Est: $10- $1,000
$113 Bids
DARARA, Casper. Zulu Male & Female
Mar 03, 2:00 PM AEDT
DARARA, Casper. Zulu Male & Female
by Theodore Bruce Auctioneers & Valuers
Est: AUD60- AUD90
AUD903 Bids
ADOLFO CIPRIANI (1880-1930)
Feb 25, 12:00 PM EST
ADOLFO CIPRIANI (1880-1930)
by John McInnis Auctioneers
Est: $200- $400
$1503 Bids
19th Century Bronze Bust Of Henri Iv Of France
Feb 22, 10:00 AM EST
19th Century Bronze Bust Of Henri Iv Of France
by Berner's Auction Gallery
Est: $10- $1,000
$213 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Sculpture Busts


Weatherham Estate Treasures

Weatherham Estate Treasures

Unicart Auctions

Unicart Auctions

Goldfield Auction

Goldfield Auction

Berner's Auction Gallery

Berner's Auction Gallery