Portrait of Matidia

Inv. Scu 889

According to many scholars, this bust represents Matidia Maggiore, the mother-in-law of Hadrian. The bond between Hadrian and Matidia is well known in history and antique sources speak of the great respect and gratitude the Emperor felt for his mother-in-law.

On the occasion of her death, Hadrian gave a funerary eulogy before the Senate and organized gladiatorial games and the distribution of gifts to the people in her honor. He also allowed her to be deified.

The bust is sculpted in larger than life dimensions. The head is turned to the right and tilts slightly to the side. Matidia is shown with a rather square and full face. Her forehead is high and wide. Her eyes are small and deeply set in her face – the circles under them are an indication of her advanced age.

On her head she wears a diadem made of hair arranged in ten symmetrical plaits that outline her face.

The work can be dated to the early age of Hadrian and was found near the Esquiline.