126 x 84 x 52 cm
early 20th century
The portrait in the Vatican depicts Plotina (65—121 AD), wife of Emperor Trajan. We do not know if the portrait head originally belonged to a statue or a bust; the bust it is now attached to is modern. Almost all surviving portraits of Plotina share a high, fanshaped hairstyle rising from a ponytail above her bangs, and framing her forehead. At the back of the head her hair is tied into a large, tight ponytail composed of several smaller locks. The locks show the use of a drill, which became widespread in the period after the reign of Trajan. The portrait was probably made after the death of the empress.