The Bust of Lucius Verus

The bust of Lucius Verus reveals an intricately carved piece of marble representing Lucius Verus, one of the well known emperors of the ancient Rome despite being second in command. He served as a co-emperor in the period between 161 and 169 AD (Thompson 63) History reveals that Lucius was arguably hesitant to pose for portraits including official ones. It is no wonder that many people are of the opinion that he was a shy emperor. The likeness of this wonderful piece of art has proved to be particularly vital to researchers studying this mysterious ruler save for the complex family sagas (Harrsch 1).

Hadrian as an emperor, begun the trend of wearing beards as a sign of admiration for the rich culture. This claim is evident by the sculpture’s well crafted curly beards. The fashion, however, had earlier been embraced by Greek poets, philosophers and the various states men. The fashion extended to the public sector as well as the private one (Harrsch 1). Eventually, emperors begun to grow varying lengths of beard till the fourth century. Sculptors took advantage of the development by creating a textural contrast on the curly beards and hair relative to the sculptures’ smooth skin.

The bust of Lucius Veras reveals his handsome face commonly known as the glorious face with a full and well groomed beard (Harrsch 1). Its condition is fairly good, with abrasions and marks on the shiny surface consistent with its age. It is worth noting that this piece of art resembles those of Antonious Pius and Marcus Aurelius in spite of their lack of blood relation. This link was meant to enhance dynamic stability in the empire.

Thompson (65) reveals that the piece of art portrays the emperor as a young man with curly hair, curly beard and an oval face. He is dressed up in a toga which was common roman clothing. The distinctive garment was exclusively worn by men, roman citizens to be precise.

The sculpture depicts the extensive and careful use of the drill to develop his beard and hair alike. It is imperative to note that early day sculptors developed long hairstyles using the drill to carefully carve appealing locks of hair. The locks of hair were deeply textured to reveal an intricate contrast in line with smoothness of skillfully carved flesh (Thompson 65). As a result, the emperor, Lucius Verus, stands out as an equally powerful and dignified leader. This is relative to Marcus Aurelius who was senior in command.

The bust of Lucius Verus has incised irises and pupils, as opposed to revealing them using paint. It clearly individualizes him with small plump lips and hooked nose. These can be termed as examples of retained distinguishing characteristics. He also has almond-shaped eyes and relatively straight eyebrows, in addition to the flamboyant mustache. As mentioned earlier, his beard appears luxurious in the sense that it is mid-length with neat and parallel rows of curls (Thompson 64). The sculptor managed to portray the emperor’s psychological state through classic features such …
Posted by: Gwendolyn Contos

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