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PROPERTY OF GALERIE ARETE, HANS HUMBEL

A Marble Funerary Portrait Statue of a Roman Poet, Late Republican/Augustan, 2nd half of the 1st Century B.C.
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39

PROPERTY OF GALERIE ARETE, HANS HUMBEL

A Marble Funerary Portrait Statue of a Roman Poet, Late Republican/Augustan, 2nd half of the 1st Century B.C.
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Details & Cataloguing

Ancient Sculpture & Works of Art

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A Marble Funerary Portrait Statue of a Roman Poet, Late Republican/Augustan, 2nd half of the 1st Century B.C.
composed of two parts joined at the hips and hollowed out, seated on a cushion in a contemplative attitude and holding a scroll in his left hand, a signet ring on his left hand, his himation draped over the lower part of his body, left shoulder, and left forearm, his head turned slightly to his right, the face with high cheek-bones, fragmentary aquiline nose, deep-set eyes, and furrowed brow, his short cropped hair radiating from the crown, his right foot formerly dowelled on; right shoulder restored.
Height 115 cm.; height of head 25 cm.
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Provenance

"said to have been found on the Via Appia" (Lehmann-Hartleben, op. cit., p. 204), or in Trevi near Spoleto (manuscript note in the Paul Arndt archive, Erlangen University)
Jandolo, Via Margutta 51, Rome, by 1912
Galleria Sangiorgi, Rome
Giovanni Walser, Rome
Joseph Brummer (1883-1947), Paris and New York, inv. no. N376, acquired from the above on March 18th, 1920 (http://libmma.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p16028coll9/id/5156)
Vladimir G. Simkhovitch (1874-1959), New York, acquired from the above in December of 1921
Joseph Brummer (1883-1947), New York, reacquired from the above by exchange on December 30th, 1935, inv. no. N3726 (http://libmma.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p16028coll9/id/12833)
Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York, inv. no. acquired from the above on March 4th, 1936 (Sotheby’s, New York, June 7th, 2007, no. 70, illus.)
acquired at the above sale by the present owner 

Exhibited

Antikenmuseum Basel und Sammlung Ludwig, 2009-2018

Literature

Inez S. Ryberg, An Archaeological Record of Rome from the Seventh to the Second Century B.C., London, 1940, p. 195, note 96
Karl Lehmann-Hartleben, "Some Ancient Portraits," American Journal of Archaeology, vol. 46, 1942, pp. 204ff., figs. 6ff., pl. 11f.
Andrew C. Ritchie, ed., Buffalo Fine Arts Academy. Catalogue of the Paintings and Sculpture in the Permanent Collection, Buffalo, 1949, p. 172f., illus., and p. 204, no. 83;
Margarete Bieber, The Sculpture of the Hellenistic Age, revised ed., New York, 1961, p. 173, fig. 730f.
Cornelius C. Vermeule, "Greek and Roman Portraits in North American Collections open to the Public," Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, vol. 108, no. 2, 1964, p. 102 (repr. in Cornelius C. Vermeule, Art and Archaeology of Antiquity, vol. 2, London, 2001, p. 7)
Steven A. Nash et al., Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Painting and Sculpture from Antiquity to 1942, New York, 1979, p. 75, illus.
Raimund Wünsche, "Eine Bildnisherme in der Münchner Glyptothek," Münchner Jahrbuch der bildenden Kunst, vol. 31, 1980, p. 25f., fig. 20f., and p. 33, note 78
Cornelius C. Vermeule, Greek and Roman Sculpture in America, Malibu, 1981, p. 272, no. 229, illus.
Paul Zanker, Die Maske des Sokrates. Das Bild des Intellektuellen in der antiken Kunst, Munich, 1995, p. 205f., fig. 112 (transl. as The Mask of Socrates. The Image of the Intellectual in Antiquity, Berkeley, 1995, p. 214f., fig. 112)
Christopher H. Hallett, The Roman Nude. Heroic Portrait Statuary 200 BC–AD 300, Oxford, 2005, pp. 188ff., and p. 325, no. 211
Ambra Spinelli, "The "Getty Cybele": A Roman Portrait of Feminine Virtues," American Journal of Archaeology, vol. 121, 2017, p. 388, fig. 17.

 

Catalogue Note

According to Paul Zanker (op. cit., pp. 214-215), the Buffalo statue "presents a poet in a mood of remarkable, if rather strained, self assurance. We recognize him as a poet by the book roll and Greek manner of clothing, a mantle that leaves the entire torso exposed. The models for this figure are not the earlier Greek statues of poets, in their citizen dress and relaxed pose, like Menander and Poseidippus, but rather the exaggerated heroic imagery of Late Hellenistic art that we saw exemplified in reliefs of Menander. The pose is here even more exalted. The poet sits straight as an arrow, with his legs apart, not unlike the type of Jupiter that inspired images of the enthroned emperor. The sculptor of a second statue of a poet in similar pose, Trajanic in date and now in the Terme [Hallett, op. cit., pp. 188ff., pl. 109], added the realistic features of advancing age to the bare torso, thus creating a link to the iconography of the philosopher. Both statues probably stood in grave precincts and represent professional poets. A member of the aristocracy could hardly have had himself so depicted, with none of the attributes of his social status. Furthermore, the statue in Buffalo was hollowed out inside probably to contain the ashes of the deceased. It will most likely have stood in the funerary precinct of the patron, who may also have paid for this statue of his in-house poet."

For a head closely related in style to that of the present statue and dated to the Augustan period see K. Fittschen et al., Katalog der römischen Porträts in den Capitolinischen Museen, vol. 2, 2010, p. 52, no. 39, pl. 42.

Wünsche, op. cit., p. 33, note 78 points to a Roman female portrait head in Munich as a parallel for the present statue’s likely function as a "figural cinerary urn". The Munich head is hollowed out and was found filled with ashes.

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