Magnificent Works of Ancient Sculpture

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Launch Slideshow

Sotheby's Ancient Sculpture and Works of Art sale, on 2 July, will feature a highly curated selection of Classical Greek, Roman, and Ancient Egyptian works of art. Click the image above to view the slideshow.

Magnificent Works of Ancient Sculpture

  • A Roman Marble Portrait Statue of Livia as a Priestess, early 1st Century A.D, Estimate £400,000–600,000
    This important over-lifesize portrait statue of the Empress Livia is the only one of its kind currently in private hands outside of Italy. Recent discoveries of early drawings have shown that, before coming to England in the 1770s, the statue stood in the same palazzo in Rome as the famous Meleager now in the Vatican’s Octagonal Courtyard. Equally significant is the discovery that Livia is depicted here wearing an infula, a ritual fillet casting her in the role of a priestess offering a sacrifice. After about seventy years at Stowe, the house of the Duke of Buckingham, the statue spent over a century at Lowther Castle, in the collection of the Earls of Lonsdale. She has been on display at the Antikenmuseum Basel und Sammlung Ludwig from 2015 until now.
  • An Egyptian Limestone Figure of a Man, 5th Dynasty, 2520–2360 B.C, Estimate £200,000–300,000
    On loan to the Antikenmuseum Basel und Sammlung Ludwig for the past twenty years, this proudly standing early funerary figure of an Egyptian official still shows the hands of his wife, who was embracing him as she once stood beside him. It was one of the pièces maîtresses offered by the famed Galerie du Sycomore in Paris in 1975.
  • A Roman Marble Circular Oscillum, circa 1st Century B.C, Estimate £150,000–250,000
    This is the largest, finest, and best preserved circular oscillum to appear at auction in memory. Once in the collection of Marchese Giampetro Campana in the mid 19th Century, it was sold by him prior to his downfall and the dispersion of his collection between the Hermitage, the Louvre, and many French national museums. It was later part of the Pourtalès-Schickler Collection, of which a significant portion was sold with great success at Sotheby’s Paris on May 16th, 2019.
  • An Egyptian Gneiss ("Chephren Diorite") Bust of Mycerinus, 4th Dynasty, reign of Mycerinus, circa 2550–2530 B.C., Estimate £150,000–250,000
    On loan to the Antikenmuseum Basel und Sammlung Ludwig for the past twenty years, this powerful bust of King Mycerinus, who built the third pyramid at Giza as his resting place, is the only one of its kind in private hands and the only one ever to appear at auction. It was once one of the pièces maîtresses offered by the famed Galerie du Sycomore in Paris in 1975.
  • A Roman Marble Figure of Asklepios, circa 2nd Century A.D., Estimate £100,000–150,000
    Restored in Rome in the 17th or 18th century, this almost lifesize representation of the god of medicine has been one of the main attractions of a private Spanish garden for the past few decades. His head is repaired but original to the body.
  • A Roman Marble Torso of a Man, circa 1st Century A.D, Estimate £100,000–150,000
    When it formed part of the celebrated Barberini collection of ancient sculpture in Rome in the 17th Century, this torso stood fully restored as a figure of Herakles carrying his club on his shoulder. The restored statue appears on an early 18th-century drawing now in the collections of Eton College.
  • A Roman Marble Portrait Head of Aristotle, circa 1st Century A.D, Estimate £80,000–120,000
    This soulful likeness of the father of logic is the first such portrait of Aristotle to appear at auction in almost forty years. It is a Roman copy of a Greek original created in Athens in the late 4th Century B.C. The present head is attested in Oslo in the late 1960s in the collection of Nils Ebbessøn Astrup, from whom it descended to the present owner.
  • An Etruscan Bronze Figure of a Goddess, circa 2nd Century B.C, Estimate £40,000–60,000
    This rare, finely worked, and relatively sizeable figure of an unknown deity, perhaps an Etruscan incarnation of Demeter, holds a pomegranate in her hand. An 18th century engraving shows her in Rome in the private museum of Athanasius Kircher, the 17th-Century Jesuit polymath whose research as an early Egyptologist paved the way for Champollion’s deciphering of hieroglyphic writing.
  • A Roman Marble Fountain Figure of a Nymph, circa 2nd Century A.D, Estimate £50,000–80,000
    It would be easy to mistake this statue for a representation of Aphrodite, but the overturned jug in her right hand leaves no doubt as to her identity: she is a nymph personifying a sacred spring. First attested on the art market in Munich in the 1920s, the statue went through the hands of Ernest and Joseph Brummer, who sold it in 1935 to the New York publisher and real estate developer A. J. Kobler.
  • A Monumental Roman Marble Portrait Head of Antinous as Dionysos-Osiris, circa A.D. 130–138. Estimate £60,000–90,000
    Hadrian turned his favourite into a god upon the latter’s tragic and untimely death. The present head, which would have crowned a monumental cult statue, shows Antinous wearing the attributes of Dionysos, in much the same way as the colossal statue in the Vatican. It is thought to have been part of the stock of Galerie Segredakis in Paris prior to World War II.
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