The Nose

Creative producer Masha Turchinsky on prominent noses in the Met's collection.

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I approach Madame X and I say, "Sister, I know that nose."

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  • Masha Turchinsky
    1280852
  • Wedding day, New York City, 1960  |  Andrew Turchinsky and Dorothy Bradley
    1280975
  • Portrait head of Emperor Constantine I  |  ca. 324–337; Constantinian; Late Antique period  |  Roman  |  Marble  |  Bequest of Mary Clark Thompson, 1923 (26.229)
    7651024
  • Portrait head of Emperor Constantine I  |  ca. 324–337; Constantinian; Late Antique period  |  Roman  |  Marble  |  Bequest of Mary Clark Thompson, 1923 (26.229)
    7681024
  • Madame X (Madame Pierre Gautreau)  |  1883–84  |  John Singer Sargent (American)  |  Oil on canvas  |  Arthur Hoppock Hearn Fund, 1916 (16.53)
    5261024
  • Madame X (Madame Pierre Gautreau)  |  1883–84  |  John Singer Sargent (American)  |  Oil on canvas  |  Arthur Hoppock Hearn Fund, 1916 (16.53)
    12591024
  • Head from the figure of a woman  |  ca. 2700–2500 b.c.; Early Cycladic I–II  |  Cycladic; Keros-Syros culture  |  Marble  |  Gift of Christos G. Bastis, 1964 (64.246)
    5651024
  • Funerary altar of Cominia Tyche  |  ca. 90–100 a.d.; Flavian or Trajanic  |  Roman  |  Marble  |  Gift of Philip Hofer, 1938 (38.27)
    7301024
  • Ring with intaglio portrait of Emperor Tiberius  |  14–37 a.d.; Early Imperial  |  Roman  |  Gold, carnelian  |  Purchase, The Bothmer Purchase Fund and Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1994 (1994.230.7)
    8781024
  • Woman's Head  |  1912  |  Amedeo Modigliani (Italian)  |  Limestone  |  The Mr. and Mrs. Klaus G. Perls Collection, 1997 (1997.149.10)
    6671024
  • Woman's Head  |  1912  |  Amedeo Modigliani (Italian)  |  Limestone  |  The Mr. and Mrs. Klaus G. Perls Collection, 1997 (1997.149.10)
    6671024
  • Woman's Head  |  1912  |  Amedeo Modigliani (Italian)  |  Limestone  |  The Mr. and Mrs. Klaus G. Perls Collection, 1997 (1997.149.10)
    6491024
  • Gable Ornament (P'naret)  |  mid-20th century  |  Big Nambas people, Malakula Island, Vanuatu  |  Fern wood  |  The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Bequest of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979 (1979.206.1584)
    7681024
  • Gable Ornament (P'naret)  |  mid-20th century  |  Big Nambas people, Malakula Island, Vanuatu  |  Fern wood  |  The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Bequest of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979 (1979.206.1584)
    8601024
  • Head of Athena  |  late 3rd–early 2nd century b.c.; Hellenistic  |  Greek  |  Marble  |  Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1996 (1996.178)
    8531024
  • Relief portrait of the emperor Lucius Verus  |  ca. 166–170; Antonine  |  Roman  |  Marble  |  Rogers Fund, 1923 (23.160.85)
    11171024
  • Queen Mother Pendant Mask: Iyoba  |  16th century  |  Nigeria; Edo peoples, court of Benin  |  Ivory, iron, copper (?)  |  The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Gift of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1972 (1978.412.323)
    6491024
  • Queen Mother Pendant Mask: Iyoba  |  16th century  |  Nigeria; Edo peoples, court of Benin  |  Ivory, iron, copper (?)  |  The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Gift of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1972 (1978.412.323)
    7041024
  • J. Pierpont Morgan, Esq.  |  1903, printed 1909–10  |  Edward Steichen (American, born Luxembourg)  |  Gum bichromate over platinum print  |  Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949 (49.55.167)
    8091024
  • J. Pierpont Morgan, Esq.  |  1903, printed 1909–10  |  Edward Steichen (American, born Luxembourg)  |  Gum bichromate over platinum print  |  Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949 (49.55.167)
    9841024
  • Face of Senwosret III  |  Middle Kingdom, Dynasty 12, reign of Senwosret III, ca. 1878–1840 b.c.  |  Egyptian  |  Quartzite  |  Purchase, Edward S. Harkness Gift, 1926 (26.7.1394)
    7441024
  • Face of Senwosret III  |  Middle Kingdom, Dynasty 12, reign of Senwosret III, ca. 1878–1840 b.c.  |  Egyptian  |  Quartzite  |  Purchase, Edward S. Harkness Gift, 1926 (26.7.1394)
    7441024
  • Lady at the Tea Table  |  1883–85  |  Mary Cassatt (American)  |  Oil on canvas  |  Gift of Mary Cassatt, 1923 (23.101)
    8391024
  • Lady at the Tea Table  |  1883–85  |  Mary Cassatt (American)  |  Oil on canvas  |  Gift of Mary Cassatt, 1923 (23.101)
    12051024
  • Madame X  |  ca. 1907  |  Auguste Rodin (French)  |  Marble  |  Gift of Thomas F. Ryan, 1910 (11.173.6)
    7821024
  • Madame X  |  ca. 1907  |  Auguste Rodin (French)  |  Marble  |  Gift of Thomas F. Ryan, 1910 (11.173.6)
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  • Masha Turchinsky
    1280852
  • My name is Masha Turchinsky and I work as a creative producer in Digital Media. My topic is "The Nose."

  • Perhaps one of my fascinations with the nose is due to my strong resemblance to my father who had a very strong nose. And I inherited that feature. He became ill and died when I was just a teenager.

  • When I look at Emperor Constantine, I see my father's nose. We are kindred nose spirits. From the side, I get

  • a sense of all of his plans for the empire. His nose has a lot to do with that strength. Inspired by this great emperor, I named my own son Constantine.

  • Prominent noses are familiar to me. I feel comfortable with them because I feel I know them.

  • I approach Madame X and I say, "Sister, I know that nose." [laughs] I even feel a bond with the

  • Cycladic figure where I don't need any more from that face, it's just perfect the way it is, to me.

  • For much of my life I have been told, by both friends and strangers, that I have a Roman nose. And I actually love that, because the term Roman nose leaves a lot to interpretation.

  • That Ring with the intaglio portrait of Emperor Tiberius, it has so much character. If he was trying to make a statement about what he looked like so that nobody would confuse him with anybody else, it worked.

  • I like the expression, "It's as plain as the nose on your face."

  • It's the first thing that you put forward. It leads the way.

  • It's often the first thing that people notice about you.

  • The nose seems to define people's personalities. They can be imperious, they can be weak, they can

  • be playful, they can suggest power. The idea of being nosey and getting into things

  • there's probably a little bit of truth about that. The nose can insinuate itself. I probably fall into the category of thinking

  • strong features make a strong person. I get a sense of this man. I actually don't wonder about what the rest of his face looks like.

  • The Queen Mother Pendant Mask. The nose

  • anchors the entire face, it's strong, it's elegant. It's a very arresting, confident image.

  • Noses don't have to be perfect to be interesting. J. P. Morgan had quite a big nose. He decided to emphasize it, he made a choice, he has this

  • big mustache underneath. This is a powerful man making sure that you look at his face.

  • One of my favorite stories is "The Nose," by Gogol. One day a man wakes up and his nose is missing. And it turns out that his nose is running all over St. Petersburg. And so he has to run out and try to find it. What

  • I took from that story and this man's distress was that in losing his nose, he lost face. Physically lost a part of his face, but he lost face in society.

  • And then there's people who just don't like their nose. Apparently the artist made this wonderful portrait, and the sitter's daughter really objected to how her mom's nose looked in the picture.

  • She thought it looked too big or it was ugly, and so the picture got put away somewhere for decades. That's interesting that you could like everything except the nose and that rendered it unacceptable.

  • I recently heard an Armenian expression that when somebody is the spitting image of, for example, their father, you say, "He fell from his father's nose." That's your DNA. Your nose tells where you come from.

  • While I'm not critical of people changing their bodies to make themselves happier, I will never have a nose job. I would no sooner

  • alter my nose than I would deny my family's history.

  • 26.229
    Portrait head of Emperor Constantine I, ca. 324–337; Constantinian; Late Antique period, Roman, Marble Bequest of Mary Clark Thompson, 1923 (26.229)
  • 16.53
    Madame X (Madame Pierre Gautreau), 1883–84, John Singer Sargent (American), Oil on canvas Arthur Hoppock Hearn Fund, 1916 (16.53)
  • 64.246
    Head from the figure of a woman, ca. 2700–2500 b.c.; Early Cycladic I–II, Cycladic; Keros-Syros culture, Marble Gift of Christos G. Bastis, 1964 (64.246)
  • 38.27
    Funerary altar of Cominia Tyche, ca. 90–100 a.d.; Flavian or Trajanic, Roman, Marble Gift of Philip Hofer, 1938 (38.27)
  • 1994.230.7
    Ring with intaglio portrait of Emperor Tiberius, 14–37 a.d.; Early Imperial, Roman, Gold, carnelian Purchase, The Bothmer Purchase Fund and Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1994 (1994.230.7)
  • 1997.149.10
    Woman's Head, 1912, Amedeo Modigliani (Italian), Limestone The Mr. and Mrs. Klaus G. Perls Collection, 1997 (1997.149.10)
  • 1979.206.1584
    Gable Ornament (P'naret), mid-20th century, Big Nambas people, Malakula Island, Vanuatu, Fern wood The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Bequest of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979 (1979.206.1584)
  • 1996.178_av1
    Head of Athena, late 3rd–early 2nd century b.c.; Hellenistic, Greek, Marble Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1996 (1996.178)
  • 23.160.85
    Relief portrait of the emperor Lucius Verus, ca. 166–170; Antonine, Roman, Marble Rogers Fund, 1923 (23.160.85)
  • 1978.412.323
    Queen Mother Pendant Mask: Iyoba, 16th century, Nigeria; Edo peoples, court of Benin, Ivory, iron, copper (?) The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Gift of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1972 (1978.412.323)
  • 49.55.167
    J. Pierpont Morgan, Esq., 1903, printed 1909–10, Edward Steichen (American, born Luxembourg), Gum bichromate over platinum print Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949 (49.55.167)
  • 26.7.1394
    Face of Senwosret III, Middle Kingdom, Dynasty 12, reign of Senwosret III, ca. 1878–1840 b.c., Egyptian, Quartzite Purchase, Edward S. Harkness Gift, 1926 (26.7.1394)
  • 23.101
    Lady at the Tea Table, 1883–85, Mary Cassatt (American), Oil on canvas Gift of Mary Cassatt, 1923 (23.101)
  • 11.173.6
    Madame X, ca. 1907, Auguste Rodin (French), Marble Gift of Thomas F. Ryan, 1910 (11.173.6)
  • Portrait head of Emperor Constantine I, ca. 324–337; Constantinian; Late Antique period, Roman, Marble Bequest of Mary Clark Thompson, 1923 (26.229)
    Madame X (Madame Pierre Gautreau), 1883–84, John Singer Sargent (American), Oil on canvas Arthur Hoppock Hearn Fund, 1916 (16.53)
    Head from the figure of a woman, ca. 2700–2500 b.c.; Early Cycladic I–II, Cycladic; Keros-Syros culture, Marble Gift of Christos G. Bastis, 1964 (64.246)
    Funerary altar of Cominia Tyche, ca. 90–100 a.d.; Flavian or Trajanic, Roman, Marble Gift of Philip Hofer, 1938 (38.27)
    Ring with intaglio portrait of Emperor Tiberius, 14–37 a.d.; Early Imperial, Roman, Gold, carnelian Purchase, The Bothmer Purchase Fund and Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1994 (1994.230.7)
    Woman's Head, 1912, Amedeo Modigliani (Italian), Limestone The Mr. and Mrs. Klaus G. Perls Collection, 1997 (1997.149.10)
    Gable Ornament (P'naret), mid-20th century, Big Nambas people, Malakula Island, Vanuatu, Fern wood The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Bequest of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979 (1979.206.1584)
    Head of Athena, late 3rd–early 2nd century b.c.; Hellenistic, Greek, Marble Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1996 (1996.178)
    Relief portrait of the emperor Lucius Verus, ca. 166–170; Antonine, Roman, Marble Rogers Fund, 1923 (23.160.85)
    Queen Mother Pendant Mask: Iyoba, 16th century, Nigeria; Edo peoples, court of Benin, Ivory, iron, copper (?) The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Gift of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1972 (1978.412.323)
    J. Pierpont Morgan, Esq., 1903, printed 1909–10, Edward Steichen (American, born Luxembourg), Gum bichromate over platinum print Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949 (49.55.167)
    Face of Senwosret III, Middle Kingdom, Dynasty 12, reign of Senwosret III, ca. 1878–1840 b.c., Egyptian, Quartzite Purchase, Edward S. Harkness Gift, 1926 (26.7.1394)
    Lady at the Tea Table, 1883–85, Mary Cassatt (American), Oil on canvas Gift of Mary Cassatt, 1923 (23.101)
    Madame X, ca. 1907, Auguste Rodin (French), Marble Gift of Thomas F. Ryan, 1910 (11.173.6)
    8000–2000 B.C.
    2000–1000 B.C.
    1000 B.C.–1 A.D.
    1–500 A.D.
    500–1000 A.D.
    1000–1400 A.D.
    1400–1600 A.D.
    1600–1800 A.D.
    1800–1900 A.D.
    1900–Present

    Works of art in order of appearance

    Last Updated: August 19, 2013. Not all works of art in the Museum's collection may be on view on a particular day. For the most accurate location information, please check this page on the day of your visit.

    Portrait head of Emperor Constantine I
    ca. 324–337; Constantinian; Late Antique period
    Roman
    Marble
    Bequest of Mary Clark Thompson, 1923 (26.229)
    On view: Gallery 169
    Greek and Roman ArtFirst Floor and Mezzanine
    Madame X (Madame Pierre Gautreau)
    1883–84
    John Singer Sargent (American)
    Oil on canvas
    Arthur Hoppock Hearn Fund, 1916 (16.53)
    On view: Gallery 771
    American Paintings and SculptureFirst and Second Floors
    Head from the figure of a woman
    ca. 2700–2500 b.c.; Early Cycladic I–II
    Cycladic; Keros-Syros culture
    Marble
    Gift of Christos G. Bastis, 1964 (64.246)
    On view: Gallery 151
    Greek and Roman ArtFirst Floor and Mezzanine
    Funerary altar of Cominia Tyche
    ca. 90–100 a.d.; Flavian or Trajanic
    Roman
    Marble
    Gift of Philip Hofer, 1938 (38.27)
    On view: Gallery 162
    Greek and Roman ArtFirst Floor and Mezzanine
    Ring with intaglio portrait of Emperor Tiberius
    14–37 a.d.; Early Imperial
    Roman
    Gold, carnelian
    Purchase, The Bothmer Purchase Fund and Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1994 (1994.230.7)
    On view: Gallery 166
    Greek and Roman ArtFirst Floor and Mezzanine
    Woman's Head
    1912
    Amedeo Modigliani (Italian)
    Limestone
    The Mr. and Mrs. Klaus G. Perls Collection, 1997 (1997.149.10)
    Not on view
    Modern and Contemporary ArtSecond Floor
    Gable Ornament (P'naret)
    mid-20th century
    Big Nambas people, Malakula Island, Vanuatu
    Fern wood
    The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Bequest of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979 (1979.206.1584)
    On view: Gallery 354
    Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the AmericasFirst Floor
    Head of Athena
    late 3rd–early 2nd century b.c.; Hellenistic
    Greek
    Marble
    Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1996 (1996.178)
    On view: Gallery 162
    Greek and Roman ArtFirst Floor and Mezzanine
    Relief portrait of the emperor Lucius Verus
    ca. 166–170; Antonine
    Roman
    Marble
    Rogers Fund, 1923 (23.160.85)
    On view: Gallery 171
    Greek and Roman ArtFirst Floor and Mezzanine
    Queen Mother Pendant Mask: Iyoba
    16th century
    Nigeria; Edo peoples, court of Benin
    Ivory, iron, copper (?)
    The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Gift of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1972 (1978.412.323)
    On view: Gallery 352
    Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the AmericasFirst Floor
    J. Pierpont Morgan, Esq.
    1903, printed 1909–10
    Edward Steichen (American, born Luxembourg)
    Gum bichromate over platinum print
    Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949 (49.55.167)
    Not on view
    PhotographsSecond Floor
    Face of Senwosret III
    Middle Kingdom, Dynasty 12, reign of Senwosret III, ca. 1878–1840 b.c.
    Egyptian
    Quartzite
    Purchase, Edward S. Harkness Gift, 1926 (26.7.1394)
    On view: Gallery 111
    Egyptian ArtFirst Floor
    Lady at the Tea Table
    1883–85
    Mary Cassatt (American)
    Oil on canvas
    Gift of Mary Cassatt, 1923 (23.101)
    On view: Gallery 768
    American Paintings and SculptureFirst and Second Floors
    Madame X
    ca. 1907
    Auguste Rodin (French)
    Marble
    Gift of Thomas F. Ryan, 1910 (11.173.6)
    On view: Gallery 800
    European Sculpture and Decorative ArtsFirst Floor

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