Lot 51
  • 51

A Marble Portrait Bust of a Man, Roman Imperial, Early Antonine, mid 2nd Century A.D.

300,000 - 500,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • A Marble Portrait Bust of a Man, Roman Imperial
  • Marble
  • Total height 76.5 cm.; height without socle 56.5 cm.
his head turned to his left, and wearing a military cloak (paludamentum) fastened with a domed brooch in the form of a rosette, his face with short beard, straight nose, eyes with incised irises and drilled pupils, and furrowed brow, the hair radiating from the crown in exuberantly asymmetrical curls massing above the ears, one curled lock falling over the forehead, the entire bust and its pedestal carved in one piece; tip of nose incl. left nostril restored in marble, tip of beard in painted plaster.


Rome art market, 1960 or earlier
Adolph Loewi, Inc., Los Angeles, acquired in Rome prior to 1961
acquired from the above by the Museum in 1965 (inv. no. 1965.22)


"Roman Portraits: A Loan Exhibition of Roman Sculpture and Coins from the First Century B.C. through the Fourth Century A.D.," Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, Mass., April 6th - May 14th, 1961
"I, Claudia. Women in Ancient Rome," Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn., September 6th-December 1st, 1996, San Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio, Tex., January 3rd-March 9th, 1997, and North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, N.C., April 6th-June 15th, 1997


three photographs accessioned in 1960, Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, Rome, neg. nos. 60.2432–34, labeled "Rom, Kunsthandel" (http://arachne.uni-koeln.de/item/marbilderbestand/1059733, http://arachne.uni-koeln.de/item/marbilderbestand/1059734, http://arachne.uni-koeln.de/item/marbilderbestand/1059735)
five photographs by G. Fittschen-Badura (http://arachne.uni-koeln.de/item/objekt/5133)

Michael Milkovich, Roman Portraits, exh. cat., Worcester Art Museum, 1961, p. 46f., no. 19, illus.
Ancient Mediterranean Art. The Denver Art Museum Collection, Denver, 1968, p. 52, no. 58, illus.
Cornelius C. Vermeule, Greek and Roman Sculpture in America, Malibu, 1981, p. 340, no. 293, illus.
Klaus Fittschen, "The Bronze Bust of the 'Young Marcus Aurelius' by Antico and Its Antique Model,“ The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal, vol. 18, 1990, p. 123, note 47
Susan B. Matheson, in Diana E. Kleiner and Susan B. Matheson, eds., I, Claudia. Women in Ancient Rome, exh. cat., Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, 1996, p. 140, no. 72, illus.
Barbara Borg, et al., Die antiken Skulpturen in Castle Howard, Wiesbaden, 2005, p. 87, note 8
Klaus Fittschen, et al., Katalog der römischen Porträts in den Capitolinischen Museen, vol. 2, Berlin, 2­010, p. 111, note 1a

Catalogue Note

According to Susan Matheson (op. cit., p. 140), “This portrait represents a Roman military officer, distinguished by the cape (paludamentum) he wears over his shoulder. He was probably not a professional soldier, however, but rather a member of the elite senatorial or equestrian class whose command during a specific military campaign would provide the opportunity for political advancement or financial gain. The military reference is thus an indicator of the man’s social class. The portrait depicts a man of middle age. At this stage of his life, it is likely that he would be married and have children.  Unless his father was still alive, he would be the head of the household, a position of nearly absolute power in theory, but one subject to negotiation, persuasion and compromise in practice.  While he was away on military campaign, his wife would assume full command of both the household and the family business.”