Loading Spinner

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

See all items

Colin Joseph Dudley, Donald Bradman bronze bust, Height 32cm
Apr 24, 4:00 PM AEST
Colin Joseph Dudley, Donald Bradman bronze bust, Height 32cm
by Lawsons
Est: AUD2,000- AUD3,000
AUD45010 Bids
bp parity badge
NEIL BOYLE INDIAN BUST BRONZE SCULPTURE
May 05, 9:00 AM MST
NEIL BOYLE INDIAN BUST BRONZE SCULPTURE
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$508 Bids
Wotruba, Fritz
May 03, 10:00 AM CEST
Wotruba, Fritz
by Dusseldorfer Auktionshaus
Est: €0- €0
€3907 Bids
Bust Art Nouveau Lady
May 08, 7:00 PM EDT
Bust Art Nouveau Lady
by Gary R. Wallace Auctioneers Inc.
Est: $0- $0
$404 Bids
JACOB EPSTEIN (AMERICAN-BRITISH 1880-1959)
Apr 27, 10:00 AM EDT
JACOB EPSTEIN (AMERICAN-BRITISH 1880-1959)
by Shapiro Auctions LLC
Est: $1,000- $1,500
$2253 Bids
KEHINDE WILEY (AMERICAN B. 1977), AFTER LA NEGRESSE, 1872
Apr 24, 10:30 AM BST
KEHINDE WILEY (AMERICAN B. 1977), AFTER LA NEGRESSE, 1872
by Dreweatts 1759 Fine Sales
Est: £1,000- £1,500
£1,5003 Bids
Marwal MCM Chalk Ware Afr-Am Busts (2)
Apr 26, 8:30 AM EDT
Marwal MCM Chalk Ware Afr-Am Busts (2)
by Keystone Auctions LLC
Est: $50- $150
$353 Bids
Kirstie Alley Estate Large Antique Heavy Carved Alabaster Bust Beaux Arts Bronzed Patina COA
May 11, 12:00 PM EDT
Kirstie Alley Estate Large Antique Heavy Carved Alabaster Bust Beaux Arts Bronzed Patina COA
by Hess Fine Art
Est: $600- $1,200
$503 Bids
Gaius Octavius (63 B.C.-14 A.D.) - after the Ancient
Apr 23, 10:00 AM CEST
Gaius Octavius (63 B.C.-14 A.D.) - after the Ancient
by Deutsch Auktionen
Est: €300- €600
€5003 Bids
BUST OF MENELAUS
Apr 21, 9:30 AM CEST
BUST OF MENELAUS
by La Galerie Numismatique
Est: €750- €1,500
€403 Bids
Martin Eichinger (American, b. 1949) Bronze
Apr 29, 10:00 AM EDT
Martin Eichinger (American, b. 1949) Bronze
by Material Culture
Est: $1,000- $2,000
$5002 Bids
bp parity badge
PLASTER GILT BUST OF TWO CHILDREN SIGNED
Apr 26, 9:00 AM AEST
PLASTER GILT BUST OF TWO CHILDREN SIGNED
by Albion Antique Auction Centre
Est: AUD10- AUD40
AUD202 Bids
Antique Art Nouveau Alabaster Bust of Girl Statue
Apr 24, 12:00 PM EDT
Antique Art Nouveau Alabaster Bust of Girl Statue
by Hill Auction Gallery
Est: $100- $1,000
$1252 Bids
Affortunato Gory (French/Italian 1895-1925), Bust of a Young Woman
May 01, 12:00 PM EDT
Affortunato Gory (French/Italian 1895-1925), Bust of a Young Woman
by South Bay Auctions Inc
Est: $300- $500
$1752 Bids
Awe-Inspiring Bust of Moses With Ten Commandments
Apr 21, 9:00 AM MST
Awe-Inspiring Bust of Moses With Ten Commandments
by Monarch Auction and Estate Services
Est: $0- $0
$202 Bids
Fabulous Roman Style Bust. Measures: 47x24x17cm
Apr 28, 12:00 PM AEST
Fabulous Roman Style Bust. Measures: 47x24x17cm
by Pottle Auctions
Est: AUD0- AUD0
AUD202 Bids
FINE BRONZE SCULPTURE SIGNED
Apr 22, 3:00 PM EDT
FINE BRONZE SCULPTURE SIGNED
by Austin York LLC
Est: $300- $500
$1001 Bid
Carved Wood Bust of President Abraham Lincoln
Apr 24, 10:00 AM EDT
Carved Wood Bust of President Abraham Lincoln
by Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers
Est: $80- $200
$251 Bid
Vintage Painted Female Mannequin Head Bust
Apr 28, 10:00 AM CDT
Vintage Painted Female Mannequin Head Bust
by Rivich Auction
Est: $100- $500
$251 Bid
Max Bachmann Native American Bust Bronze Sculpture
May 19, 12:00 PM EDT
Max Bachmann Native American Bust Bronze Sculpture
by Auctions at Showplace
Est: $800- $1,200
$1001 Bid

Sellers Who Sell Sculpture Busts


Weatherham Estate Treasures

Weatherham Estate Treasures

Bertolami Fine Art s.r.l.

Bertolami Fine Art s.r.l.

Coral Gables Auction

Coral Gables Auction

OG Collections

OG Collections