A quick look at: Germanicus, a prominent Roman general of the early Empire, and the grandson-in-law of Augustus Caesar.
"Germanicus, too, that he might be the better known, took his helmet off his head and begged his men to follow up the slaughter, as they wanted not prisoners, and the utter destruction of the nation would be the only conclusion of the war. And now, late in the day, he withdrew one of his legions from the field, to intrench a camp, while the rest till nightfall glutted themselves with the enemy’s blood. Our cavalry fought with indecisive success." -Tacitus, Annals (2.26), via The Internet Classics Archive.
Germanicus Julius Caesar (15 BC-AD 19), usually just referred to as Germanicus, was a member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty and the nephew and adopted son of Tiberius. He commanded 8 Roman legions on the Rhine frontier with distinction. He appears to have gained affection among the Roman people; Suetonius in Life of Caligula III describes his “…unexampled kindliness, and a remarkable desire and capacity for winning men’s regard and inspiring their affection." He died aged 33 on October 9 of AD 19, it was a suspected poisoning. 
Great honours were granted to Germanicus after his death and he was elevated to a god-like status:

[…] Five voting centuries were to be named after him; a curule chair was to be kept in the temple of the new god, the temples were to be closed on the day that Germanicus’ ashes were interred and sacrifices were to be made on that day each year at his tomb.
[…] In public, all due honours were granted to Germanicus. The only oddity was that Tiberius and his mother did not attend the internment. Some bad feeling may have been read into this by Germanicus’ supporters, but this would seem to be an over-reaction.
-Richard Alston in Aspects of Roman History AD 14–117, page 28.

Sculpture courtesy of & currently located at the Louvre, France. Photo taken by Jastrow. The sculpture dates to circa 40 AD, Accession number: Ma 1238.

A quick look at: Germanicus, a prominent Roman general of the early Empire, and the grandson-in-law of Augustus Caesar.

"Germanicus, too, that he might be the better known, took his helmet off his head and begged his men to follow up the slaughter, as they wanted not prisoners, and the utter destruction of the nation would be the only conclusion of the war. And now, late in the day, he withdrew one of his legions from the field, to intrench a camp, while the rest till nightfall glutted themselves with the enemy’s blood. Our cavalry fought with indecisive success." -Tacitus, Annals (2.26), via The Internet Classics Archive.

Germanicus Julius Caesar (15 BC-AD 19), usually just referred to as Germanicus, was a member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty and the nephew and adopted son of Tiberius. He commanded 8 Roman legions on the Rhine frontier with distinction. He appears to have gained affection among the Roman people; Suetonius in Life of Caligula III describes his “…unexampled kindliness, and a remarkable desire and capacity for winning men’s regard and inspiring their affection." He died aged 33 on October 9 of AD 19, it was a suspected poisoning.

Great honours were granted to Germanicus after his death and he was elevated to a god-like status:

[…] Five voting centuries were to be named after him; a curule chair was to be kept in the temple of the new god, the temples were to be closed on the day that Germanicus’ ashes were interred and sacrifices were to be made on that day each year at his tomb.

[…] In public, all due honours were granted to Germanicus. The only oddity was that Tiberius and his mother did not attend the internment. Some bad feeling may have been read into this by Germanicus’ supporters, but this would seem to be an over-reaction.

-Richard Alston in Aspects of Roman History AD 14–117, page 28.

Sculpture courtesy of & currently located at the Louvre, France. Photo taken by Jastrow. The sculpture dates to circa 40 AD, Accession number: Ma 1238.

A quick look at: Senwosret III, the 5th king of Egypt’s 12th Dynasty. 
Who was he, and why is he so stern-looking in his artistic representations?
Pictured: Three granite statues of Senwosret III at the British Museum.
Following the decline of Egypt’s Old Kingdom (about 2613-2160 BC), royal power was devolved to nomarchs (provincial governors), leading Egypt into the First Intermediate Period.

Egyptologists traditionally distinguish between the major periods of pharaonic history on the basis of the political state of the country. ‘Kingdoms’ -defined as times of political unity and strong, centralized government -alternate with the ‘intermediate periods’, which are in contrast characterized by the rivalries of local rulers in their claims for power. (-Stephan Seidlmayer, in The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt, pg. 108).

The Middle Kingdom (approx. 2055-1650 BC), however, saw the re-centralization of power and the disappearance of these nomarchs and their families. Senwosret III was an instrumental player in this, with his domestic policy focused on reorganizing the administrative system; he also greatly strengthened Egypt’s control over Nubia. 
There is a significant difference between the royal statues of the Old and Middle Kingdoms. Those of the Middle Kingdom overall become larger in size, and markedly sterner-looking in expression. I side with those Egyptologists who suggest that the recent memory of the First Intermediate Period was the cause of this; following the loss of kingship to the nomarchs, the kings of the Middle Kingdom felt the need to exhort their power and authority in more obvious manners -such as through their artistic representations.

This powerfully realistic portrait of Senwosret III [the middle statue shown] was clearly intended to inspire awe in the onlooker. The authority of the Pharaoh is conveyed by the stern gaze and the downturned, almost grimacing, mouth. (-Rita Freed in Ancient Egypt, pg 218).

A good example which I usually give when comparing is this Old Kingdom statue of Khafre at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. 
Artifacts shown courtesy & currently located at the British Museum, London. Photo taken by Stevan Hubbard.

A quick look at: Senwosret III, the 5th king of Egypt’s 12th Dynasty.

Who was he, and why is he so stern-looking in his artistic representations?

Pictured: Three granite statues of Senwosret III at the British Museum.

Following the decline of Egypt’s Old Kingdom (about 2613-2160 BC), royal power was devolved to nomarchs (provincial governors), leading Egypt into the First Intermediate Period.

Egyptologists traditionally distinguish between the major periods of pharaonic history on the basis of the political state of the country. ‘Kingdoms’ -defined as times of political unity and strong, centralized government -alternate with the ‘intermediate periods’, which are in contrast characterized by the rivalries of local rulers in their claims for power. (-Stephan Seidlmayer, in The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt, pg. 108).

The Middle Kingdom (approx. 2055-1650 BC), however, saw the re-centralization of power and the disappearance of these nomarchs and their families. Senwosret III was an instrumental player in this, with his domestic policy focused on reorganizing the administrative system; he also greatly strengthened Egypt’s control over Nubia. 

There is a significant difference between the royal statues of the Old and Middle Kingdoms. Those of the Middle Kingdom overall become larger in size, and markedly sterner-looking in expression. I side with those Egyptologists who suggest that the recent memory of the First Intermediate Period was the cause of this; following the loss of kingship to the nomarchs, the kings of the Middle Kingdom felt the need to exhort their power and authority in more obvious manners -such as through their artistic representations.

This powerfully realistic portrait of Senwosret III [the middle statue shown] was clearly intended to inspire awe in the onlooker. The authority of the Pharaoh is conveyed by the stern gaze and the downturned, almost grimacing, mouth. (-Rita Freed in Ancient Egypt, pg 218).

A good example which I usually give when comparing is this Old Kingdom statue of Khafre at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. 

Artifacts shown courtesy & currently located at the British Museum, London. Photo taken by Stevan Hubbard.

The Iberian Biche of Balazote, from Balazote (Albacete, Spain). Dates to the 4th-5th centuries B.C.E.
This sculpture represents an androcephalic bull (a mythical animal with the body of a bull and a human head). It formed part of a funerary monument in which it performed the function of guardian and protector.

The head is sculptured from a different block to that used for the body. The mouth is small, the eyes large, there are the remains of horns (which have not been preserved), and below them the ears. The hair is indicated by tufts using a straight incision. In terms of iconography it is identified with the representation of Achelous, a Greek river god.
Combined with its features and general style this means it can be considered a work of Greek influence created on an underlying oriental base.These doe figures consisting of multiple incised strokes engraved on shoulder blades have only been found in a specific region along the northern coast of Spain and may be interpreted as symbols identifying a territorial group.

Courtesy & currently located at the National Archaeological Museum of Spain, Madrid. Photo taken by Rowanwindwhistler via the Wiki Commons.

The Iberian Biche of Balazote, from Balazote (Albacete, Spain). Dates to the 4th-5th centuries B.C.E.

This sculpture represents an androcephalic bull (a mythical animal with the body of a bull and a human head). It formed part of a funerary monument in which it performed the function of guardian and protector.

The head is sculptured from a different block to that used for the body. The mouth is small, the eyes large, there are the remains of horns (which have not been preserved), and below them the ears. The hair is indicated by tufts using a straight incision. In terms of iconography it is identified with the representation of Achelous, a Greek river god.

Combined with its features and general style this means it can be considered a work of Greek influence created on an underlying oriental base.These doe figures consisting of multiple incised strokes engraved on shoulder blades have only been found in a specific region along the northern coast of Spain and may be interpreted as symbols identifying a territorial group.

Courtesy & currently located at the National Archaeological Museum of Spain, Madrid. Photo taken by Rowanwindwhistler via the Wiki Commons.

Dharmarajika, a large Buddhist stupa in Taxila, Pakistan.

Taxila is an important archaeological site in the Punjab province of Pakistan, and presents to us the stages in the development of a city on the Indus that was alternately influenced by Persia, Greece and Central Asia. From the 5th century BC to the 2nd century AD it was also a Buddhist centre of learning.

Dharmarajika is both the largest and earliest of the Buddhist religious complexes at Taxia. It was built to enshrine the holy relics of Buddha by Asoka the Great, who was also known as "Dharmaraja", (thus name the name of the site being "Dharmarajka").

This circular stupa is 45 metres high, and constructed in solid stone masonry. It was unfortunately significantly damaged during an earthquake in 40 AD, and was rebuilt twice under Kushana rulers. Stone sculptures depicting Buddha and his life adorned the stupa. 

During the end of the 5th century, the empire of the Kidara Kushanas was lost to the White Huns. Trade was disrupted, and the economic prosperity diminished, leaving places like Dharmarajika without royal patronage. Dharmarajika was ultimately abandoned like many of the other Buddhist Sangharamas at Taxia.

Photos taken by Anduze traveller.

Carved head thought to represent Quetzalcoatl found at Teotihuacan, similar to the type seen at the Temple of Quetzalcoatl. Such sculptures adorned the doorways and patios of temples and dwelling units, as well as the facades of the latter.
Teotihuacan (‘the place where the gods were created’) is about 50 km north-east of Mexico City, and was built between the 1st and 7th centuries AD. A prominent feature at this archaeological site is the Temple of Quetzalcoatl (sometimes also referred to as the Temple of the Plumed Serpent), which is where this carved head likely came from.
One of the most important gods of the Aztec pantheon, Quetzalcoatl is a creator god, and the patron of merchants, knowledge, and crafts.

Quetzalcoatl, the Feathered Serpent, is a very complex god, with many aspects and spheres of influence. 
According to an Aztec myth of creation there were four suns (or worlds) before the present one. Each sun was created and destroyed in a different way, and inhabited by a different race of people. Each sun was also presided over by a different deity.
After the destruction of the Fourth Sun, Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca created the earth and the heavens by tearing apart the earth monster, Tlaltecuhtli.
-Clara Bezanilla, A Pocket Dictionary of Aztec and Mayan Gods and Goddesses.

Artifact courtesy & currently located at the Teotihuacan Museum, Mexico. Photo taken by Travis S.

Carved head thought to represent Quetzalcoatl found at Teotihuacan, similar to the type seen at the Temple of Quetzalcoatl. Such sculptures adorned the doorways and patios of temples and dwelling units, as well as the facades of the latter.

Teotihuacan (‘the place where the gods were created’) is about 50 km north-east of Mexico City, and was built between the 1st and 7th centuries AD. A prominent feature at this archaeological site is the Temple of Quetzalcoatl (sometimes also referred to as the Temple of the Plumed Serpent), which is where this carved head likely came from.

One of the most important gods of the Aztec pantheon, Quetzalcoatl is a creator god, and the patron of merchants, knowledge, and crafts.

Quetzalcoatl, the Feathered Serpent, is a very complex god, with many aspects and spheres of influence. 

According to an Aztec myth of creation there were four suns (or worlds) before the present one. Each sun was created and destroyed in a different way, and inhabited by a different race of people. Each sun was also presided over by a different deity.

After the destruction of the Fourth Sun, Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca created the earth and the heavens by tearing apart the earth monster, Tlaltecuhtli.

-Clara Bezanilla, A Pocket Dictionary of Aztec and Mayan Gods and Goddesses.

Artifact courtesy & currently located at the Teotihuacan Museum, Mexico. Photo taken by Travis S.

The Avukana Buddha statue, Sri Lanka. 

Standing at just over 42 feet tall, the Avukana Buddha is one of the tallest statues in Sri Lanka, and is built out of solid granite. It dates back to the reign of King Dathusena during the 5th century. 

With the raised right hand with the palm facing the raised left hand, which is touching the left shoulder, it stands on a lotus, which is carved separately and placed under it. […] The existence of some ruins of a brick and stone wall surrounding the statue indicates that originally it was in a shrine or image house. The robe clings to the body and the intricately carved pleats and folds show the influence of the Gandhara School of sculpture. The statue is considered to be one of the best sculptures of a standing Buddha, not only in Sri Lanka, but also throughout the Buddhist world.

There is a theory that this image is the work of a sculptor named Bana; a statue that is very similar to this, but only partially finished, is located in a village nearby and attributed to him. However, a further theory suggests that the great image at Avukana is the work of his teacher. The story goes that the two statues were the result of a competition between a master and his pupil. While the master sculpted the Avukana statue, the pupil (Bana) made one nearby. Whoever finished his work first was to ring a bell. The master finished first and won the competition, while is pupil left his work unfinished. The Avukana statue is considered the better of the two.

-W. Vivian De Thabrew, Monuments and Temples of Orthodox Buddhism in India and Sri Lanka (2013).

Photos courtesy & taken by Dhammika Heenpella.

The Lansdowne Throne of Apollo. Marble, Roman, late 1st century.

This high-backed marble throne is perhaps the most remarkable work of Roman sculpture in LACMA’s collection. Despite its elaborate decoration, the artfully decorated legs terminating in lion’s paw feet, and the front pair topped by eagle heads - it could hardly have been sat upon. Cloth and animal skin realistically drape the cushion on the seat, but they are all carved in marble. Furthermore, the back of the chair is adorned with figures in high relief. A sinuous snake weaves its way in and out of an archer’s bow, below which is a quiver full of arrows. The throne was purchased at a sale in 1798 by William Petty Fitzmaurice, second Earl of Shelburne and first Marquess of Lansdowne (1737-1805). His collection of ancient sculptures was among the most celebrated of its time, and many statues were acquired from Italy with the help of the Scottish artist and dealer, Gavin Hamilton (1723-1798).
The find-spot of the throne is unknown, which means that we can not be certain as to its original purpose. However, since thrones were generally associated with figures of high status, such as gods and heroes, it is reasonable to think of it in some sort of ritual or religious setting. The objects in high relief provide further clues. The bow and quiver are regularly associated with the god Apollo, and the snake might refer to the fearful serpent Python, guardian of the oracle at Delphi, which Apollo slew in his youth. The throne was given to LACMA by William Randolph Hearst, who had acquired it at the sale of the Lansdowne Collection in 1930.

Courtesy & currently located at the LACMA, USA, via their online collections.

The Lansdowne Throne of Apollo. Marble, Roman, late 1st century.

This high-backed marble throne is perhaps the most remarkable work of Roman sculpture in LACMA’s collection. Despite its elaborate decoration, the artfully decorated legs terminating in lion’s paw feet, and the front pair topped by eagle heads - it could hardly have been sat upon. Cloth and animal skin realistically drape the cushion on the seat, but they are all carved in marble. Furthermore, the back of the chair is adorned with figures in high relief. A sinuous snake weaves its way in and out of an archer’s bow, below which is a quiver full of arrows. The throne was purchased at a sale in 1798 by William Petty Fitzmaurice, second Earl of Shelburne and first Marquess of Lansdowne (1737-1805). His collection of ancient sculptures was among the most celebrated of its time, and many statues were acquired from Italy with the help of the Scottish artist and dealer, Gavin Hamilton (1723-1798).

The find-spot of the throne is unknown, which means that we can not be certain as to its original purpose. However, since thrones were generally associated with figures of high status, such as gods and heroes, it is reasonable to think of it in some sort of ritual or religious setting. The objects in high relief provide further clues. The bow and quiver are regularly associated with the god Apollo, and the snake might refer to the fearful serpent Python, guardian of the oracle at Delphi, which Apollo slew in his youth. The throne was given to LACMA by William Randolph Hearst, who had acquired it at the sale of the Lansdowne Collection in 1930.

Courtesy & currently located at the LACMA, USA, via their online collections.

Depicted as a huntress, like the Diana of Versailles, derived from a Greek model of the fourth century BC., Artemis, wearing a short tunic, should bring the right hand to her quiver to shoot an arrow. The doe that accompanied her has disappeared. Made of marble, and is thought to date to the 2nd century AD.

Courtesy & currently located at the Louvre, France. Photos taken by Coyau.

The Trentham Lady, late Hellenistic, 100BC-1BC.

Marble statue of a draped woman, standing with her weight on the right leg, the left one relaxed. She is veiled and wears a himation over a chiton, visible only around her lower legs. She wears sandals with an indent between the large and second toe. Both hands are swathed in drapery, the left one lowered, separately made and attached. The head is ancient but probably belongs to a different statue: the hair is carved a long way around the back of the head under the veil where the sculptor could not have accessed in antiquity. Several of the edges of drapery folds have been restored.
The statue stands on a plinth that has been inscribed with the name .P.(Maxim)INA . SEXTILI . CLEMENTIS . The inscription is thought to have been added in Roman times when the statue had a secondary use. The surface of the statue has ben exposed to severe weathering, although portions of the back have been protected and the surface remains.

Courtesy & currently located at the British Museum, London. Photo taken by Zyllan Fotografía.

The Trentham Lady, late Hellenistic, 100BC-1BC.

Marble statue of a draped woman, standing with her weight on the right leg, the left one relaxed. She is veiled and wears a himation over a chiton, visible only around her lower legs. She wears sandals with an indent between the large and second toe. Both hands are swathed in drapery, the left one lowered, separately made and attached. The head is ancient but probably belongs to a different statue: the hair is carved a long way around the back of the head under the veil where the sculptor could not have accessed in antiquity. Several of the edges of drapery folds have been restored.

The statue stands on a plinth that has been inscribed with the name .P.(Maxim)INA . SEXTILI . CLEMENTIS . The inscription is thought to have been added in Roman times when the statue had a secondary use. The surface of the statue has ben exposed to severe weathering, although portions of the back have been protected and the surface remains.

Courtesy & currently located at the British Museum, London. Photo taken by Zyllan Fotografía.

Cycladic figures at the Cycladic Art Museum. The ancient Cycladic civilization, along with the Minoans and Mycenaeans, were a prominent Aegean culture. The Cycladic civilization flourished in the islands of the Aegean Sea 3300-2000 BCE.

The second photo shows the Great Goddess sculpture:

This impressive piece (height 1,40 m.), which can justifiably be classed as a statue, is distinguished by clear outlines, perfect proportions and plasticity of forms. Latent movement, indicated by the higher left hip and corresponding shoulder and culminating in the slight inclination of the head to the right, infuses the figure with an air of mystery, establishing it as the distant precursor of the monumental sculptures of Archaic times.

It is precisely these traits which differentiate it from the corresponding work in the National Archaeological Museum. There is no doubt that this is the work of a great and gifted artist who managed to express in marble the awe inspired by the Great Goddess, shrouded in mystery.

It is perhaps a cult statue which stood in one of her unknown shrines, for it is unlikely that it was a grave good.

Courtesy & currently located at the Goulandris Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens, Greece. Photos taken by Tilemahos Efthimiadis.

Alexander the Great, born 356 BC in Pella, the ancient capital of Macedonia, changed the nature of the ancient world in just over a decade, laying the foundations for the Hellenistic world. After the assassination of his father Philip II of Macedon, against overwhelming odds, Alexander went on to led his army undefeated across the Persian territories of Asia Minor, Syria and Egypt.
Shown above: statuette of Alexander the Great wearing the aegis. Dates to the 1st century BC, discovered in Alexandria, Egypt.

Alexander the Great (356–323 BC) was particuarly revered in Alexandria, the town he founded and his last resting place. His successor in Egypt, Ptolemy I, had managed to waylay Alexander’s mortal remains as they were returning from Babylon for burial in Macedon.
A cult to a deified Alexander emerged around 290 BC. This statuette, one of a small group of Egyptian figures made for domestic worship, probably reproduces the cult statue erected near Alexander’s tomb. He wears the aegis, the goat-skin breatsplate worn by Zeus, identifying him with the god who had recognized him as his son at the Siwa oasis in Egypt. (louvre)

Sculpture courtesy & currently located at the Louvre, France. Photo taken by Carole Raddato.

Alexander the Great, born 356 BC in Pella, the ancient capital of Macedonia, changed the nature of the ancient world in just over a decade, laying the foundations for the Hellenistic world. After the assassination of his father Philip II of Macedon, against overwhelming odds, Alexander went on to led his army undefeated across the Persian territories of Asia Minor, Syria and Egypt.

Shown above: statuette of Alexander the Great wearing the aegis. Dates to the 1st century BC, discovered in Alexandria, Egypt.

Alexander the Great (356–323 BC) was particuarly revered in Alexandria, the town he founded and his last resting place. His successor in Egypt, Ptolemy I, had managed to waylay Alexander’s mortal remains as they were returning from Babylon for burial in Macedon.

A cult to a deified Alexander emerged around 290 BC. This statuette, one of a small group of Egyptian figures made for domestic worship, probably reproduces the cult statue erected near Alexander’s tomb. He wears the aegis, the goat-skin breatsplate worn by Zeus, identifying him with the god who had recognized him as his son at the Siwa oasis in Egypt. (louvre)

Sculpture courtesy & currently located at the Louvre, France. Photo taken by Carole Raddato.

Sculpture of Apollo, the son of Zeus/ Jupiter, and Classical god of music, poetry, sun, medicine, light and knowledge.

Parian marble, copy from the Hadrianic or Antonine period of a Greek original of the Classical period - found in the Tiber river-bed, near the Palatine bridge. Recomposed from multiple fragments.

Courtesy & currently located at the Vatican Museums, Italy. Photos taken by Romanus_too.

Mesoamerican jaguar sculpture,

The Jaguar was one of the mythological creations of the cultures of the Gulf Coast, the Olmec were the first to bring the animal to such high levels and was accepted by other cultures like Teotihuacan and the Mexica.

Courtesy & currently located at the National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico. Photos taken by Travis S.

Croatian Apoxyomenos, thought to be a Hellenistic or Roman replica after a bronze original from the second quarter or the end of the 4th century BC. 

Statue of an athlete scraping himself or scraping his strigil. This statue was found by a recreational diver in 1996 in the Adriatic Sea.

Courtesy & currently located at the Mimara Museum, Zagreb, Croatia. Photos taken by Marie-Lan Nguyen.