Isabelle Golovin (Willard Golovin Collection) (L.2003.13)
This monumental classicizing head offers a rare glimpse of medieval art that is apparently devoid of Christian symbolism. The attaching element on the right side probably supported his symbola torch or a lightning bolt. Although evoking a Roman image of Jupiter, the carving techniquesuch as the deeply carved geometric swirls of the beard and the swelling of the eyelid and the shape of the eyeis characteristic of medieval sculpture rather than that from ancient Rome. Artistically, the head intentionally blurs the distinction between the two periods and was meant to be understood as a genuine work of ancient Rome. The court of Frederick II Hohenstaufen (r. 121550) celebrated such achievements. Certainly coming from one of the emperor's palaces or public monuments, the image also carried the political message of Frederick's abiding power and desire to create a new Rome.