Forgan Smith (building 1), The University of Queensland, St Lucia
Venue: Forgan Smith (building 1), The University of Queensland, St Lucia.

Reality or Representation? Adornment in Imperial Portraiture

This paper will examine the inclusion of jewellery in the portraiture of Roman imperial women and consider the motivations behind it. Previous studies of this issue have tended to prioritise the explanation of unadorned portraits as images intentionally constructed to portray the imperial women in a positive light. In contrast, portraits featuring jewellery are frequently dismissed as private artworks, a context in which it was acceptable to show what imperial women really wore. However, I argue that these adorned portraits were not intended to record reality. Instead, they also were created with the intention of showing approval and support for the women in question, with jewellery playing a significant role in these laudatory representations.