Best Busts (Love at First Sight)
Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
1st Century BC
Roman Politician, Lawyer, Writer, Thinker & Father
Her beauty and power sums up the enduring strength of sculpture to bring back to life a personality or at least their societies view of them.
She is still causing controversy, having been the wife of the most iconoclastic ruler of Egypt. Some say she is not genuine and only dates back to the early 20th century and others use her as a symbol of black power, again politicising a very political woman. Her imperfect eye (Egyptian royalty were portrayed in a stylised, perfect way) has posed questions since she was first found after being lost for centuries.
One academic saw the start of all Greek philosophy foretold in her hat (as the start of a less rigid and more enquiring way of looking at the world? Please let me know if you have a clue because I don't) This might seem a little fanciful but its good she’s still out there being controversial.
In 2016 artists scanned Nefertiti’s bust and released the information on the web to protest western museums ownership of non western art. I also recently saw a 3D printer for sale on Amazon which used a print of Nefertiti as an example of what it could produce. This beautiful woman is still relevant after all these years
This is one of the few busts of Winston Churchill created from life by Willem Verbon for the city of Rotterdam where the bust remains.
Churchill said the bust had more personality than he had. Its an astounding sculpture but its hard to believe anything could have more personality than Churchill. Again he is controversial, the disaster of the Dardanelles, the Bengal famine cast a long shadow. He knew he had blood on his hands. Set against this is his recognition of the real nature of the Nazi threat and his resolute leadership when democracy had been swept away across Europe. His personality, full of contradictions is still charming people to this day. His early writings in South Africa and his war time conduct keep us spell bound. His art is less admired.
Roman Emperor 198-217
Great Royal Wife of Akenaten
1345 BC, Thutmos workshop
He looks like your friends dad. The one who never quite makes it to the gym but always has something interesting to say and made you feel important and grown up when you were 14 and anything but.
Cicero's achievements were enormous. A successful lawyer who's speeches are still studied by many politicians and lawyers as masterpieces of oratory (but not by me, I prefer his letters).
The first member of his family to enter the Roman Senate he suffered the snobbery of the more established families as he achieved high office, making the friends and also the enemies that one day would murder him, along the way.
His principled opposition to Caesar has made him a hero to republicans (with a small r I hasten to say) to this day. On top of all that he translated much Greek philosophy into Latin, created new words for abstract ideas and also had time to be a loving father to his daughter Tullia.
The unlikely survival of many of his letters add detail and depth to the man. Despite his many many achievements it is his relationship with his daughter that connects us across the many years and the chasm of cultural difference. This bust shows him unheroically and human in his jowly middle age. It awaits us all -if we are luckly.
British Politician, War Time Prime minister
historian and artist
Bust by Willem Verbon, Rotterdam
This reliquary, made from silver, gilded silver, rock crystal, gems and glass, of a 6th Century French saint once contained the remains of his brains. Apparently there is a localised reliquary tradition in Limoges that lasts to this day.
I had never heard of the saint and was only dimly aware of the reliquary tradition, usually through the disaproving eyes of later protestant reformers, yet of all the busts on this page it is this one that most people have found beautiful and lingered over. Something was gained in the reformation but goodness we also lost a lot.
If your tempted to buy a sculpture, bust or statue why not start your personal search here, let me know what you finally decide to have in your home or business and why you chose it.
Part of the Severan dynasty he co-ruled with his father Septimus Severus, then with his brother Geta until he had him murdered (like that was going to end well). Hated by the senate and therefore by the type of people who write history, he has been portrayed as a murderous tyrant ever since. Can you imagine that stare falling on you? A man who can have whole villages crucified ? The terror of the imperial gaze comes down the centuries to our own times whether it be the office bully or the latest tyrant sure of their ideological righteousness (some 20 something Isis thug riding into town on a tank). Still he did build some lovely baths in Rome which can be seen to this day-but was it enough to counter the blood letting? He was murdered by a disgruntled centurion who had been overlooked for promotion.