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"Octavia and Livia"

Les bustes de Livie et Octavie sur leurs socles de présentation dans la salle muséographique de l'Hôtel de Sade. Entre elles, sous cloche, la statue d'un satyre et à l'arrière plan, accrochées au mur, 2 plaques de marbre datées de la même époque

In 1951, a well was uncovered along the site's main thoroughfare, between the two geminate temples. Its filling yielded a large number of architectural and statuary elements from the demolition of the temples. Among these, near the bottom, are two female heads in white Carrara marble.


Let's take a look at the first face.

She is depicted in all her youth, her face is round and regular, her eyes are wide, her supple hair is pulled back in wavy bands, styled in a tight bun at the nape of her neck. Finally, a wide lock of hair is swept back over the forehead in a "bouffant" style.

Two replicas of the same type are known, in Paris at the Louvre and in Germany at the Bonn Museum.

This portrait was initially attributed to Octavia, sister of Augustus and married in 40 B.C. to Mark Antony, to whom she gave two daughters...

Buste présumé d'Octavie en marbre, vue 3/4 de profil
Buste présumé d'Octavie



Let's turn to the second portrait.

This one seems more haughty, with its clean-cut profile and straighter hair. The face is broad at the forehead and cheekbones, and the mouth is small and tight.

This could be Livia, wife of Augustus (Octavian at the time of marriage) from 38 BC.

Dion Cassius attests to the existence of official statues of Livia and Octavia, authorized as early as 35 BC. This is undoubtedly the date of creation of this double model, and their installation at Glanum must be dated to the years that followed.

Caution is called for, however, in assigning a definitive identity to each of these two heads. The only thing we can be sure of, given the quality of the work and the materials used, is that they both have the appearance of two imperial princesses.

Vue du profil gauche du buste présumé de Livie, en marbre
Buste présumé de Livie


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