THIS COULD BE LIGHTENED UP A LITTLE
portrait of Emperor Constantine the Great, 325-6, evidences a
tremendous change since the days of Augustus of Prima Porta. Anatomy?
Eye sockets, cleft chin. Biological? Little to no detail in forehead, cheeks,
jaw line or neck. Proportions? Forehead is too low, nose short, eyes large,
lips narrow, neck wide. Mass? Eyes are set into the sockets, nose and chin
come outward. Naked or Nude? This is an abstract ideal based on pure shapes
and design elements which neglects the details of the flesh. What was the
artist’s intention? To represent Constantine’s character as overbearing,
arrogant, and omniscient. The head here illustrated is one part of the
original thirty foot tall seated sculpture. Only those parts carved in
marble, such as the head, feet, hand, and knee cap and leg survive. The
composition must have been imposing as it towered above the population. While
it is an example of art in the service of politics, the haunting eyes and
massive scale communicated a narrative not of his disegno esterno, but
of his supreme power and authority.