Here, we will look at two vivid examples of such a pattern in the art of the ancient Rome: the statue of Augustus of Prima Porta and the colossal head of emperor Constantine. Even though it is rather difficult to compare this colossal head with another statue on a much smaller scale, we will examine features communicating a message of powerful and godlike ruler in the both figures.
The first sculpture we will look at is Augustus from Prima Porta, a marble copy based on a bronze original dating about 20 BC. It is 2 feet and 7.5 inches tall, and is now displayed in Vatican Museum.
In his autobiography Res Gestae, Augustus had publicly rejected the eighty silver statues representing him in Rome. This creates the image of a good and humble ruler. Still, the fact that those figures existed at all, in such a great number and in precious metal makes us wonder about why were they created in the first place. However, Augustus did not destroy all the images of himself.
In the statue of Prima Porta he is idealized, looking both godlike and human. His face bears close resemblance with all the other portraits of him and is most likely a realistic portrait, while his body is obviously idealized. Augustus' biographer Suetonius is being quite vivid in his physical description:
Augustus was remarkably handsome and of very graceful gait. His teeth were small, few, and decayed; his hair, yellowish and rather...