Project requested by: DancebyTheo, Max0Inq, Raphaeldelavega, Dan Sirbu, XenaAmazon, & WarriorMondenkind
Empress Theodora (b. 500 A.D. - d. 548 A.D.) as the wife of Justinian I was by far one of the most influential and powerful empresses of the Byzantine empire, championing women's rights by prohibiting forced prostitution and expanding women's rights in divorce, property ownership, guardianship rights over their children, and instituting a death penalty for the crime of rape.
ARTIST NOTES: Apart from the generally accepted fact that Theodora was of Greek Cypriot descent and was considered beautiful when she wasn't being admired for being a shrewd and powerful consort to the throne, there isn't a lot of detail offered on her appearance apart from the usual mosaics and busts created within 100 years of her lifetime.
The primary hairstyle is loosely based on the bust of a byzantine empress which is thought to be Theodora at the Museum of Ancient Art in the Castello Sforzesco in Milan, Italy.
This particular portrait marks a phenomenon which happens to nearly every artist at some point: for some inexplicable reason the features of this particular face were extremely difficult to construct and the causes for that almost never make themselves clear. There are just some faces which refuse to be drawn, and this was one of them. The portrait here, over the course of six grueling weeks, was reworked well over 20 times before I simply ran out of changes I could make that were visible. That is usually the end point of most of my portraits: when I can look at it without feeling tremendous irritation, then it is considered to be about as finished as it's going to get.