Art Matters Lecture Series

Spirantia aera, vivos vultus - Breathing bronze, living faces: the making of portraits at Aphrodisias and Rome

For almost the entire history of Greek and Roman art, bronze was unquestionably the leading sculptural medium for public statuary monuments. In the latter part of the second century CE, however, because of changes in imperial fashion and the development of new techniques for working stone, marble became the leading medium for public portraiture. Taking as his example a well preserved marble portrait head of superlative quality discovered two summers ago in Aphrodisias, Hallett reflects on this ancient rivalry of bronze and marble.


Chris Hallett, Professor of Roman Art, UC Berkeley

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