Augustus

Roman
Imperial Period
1st or 2nd century A.D.


Catalogue Raisonné

Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 329; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 114 (additional published references).

Dimensions

Height: 43.3 cm (17 1/16 in.); length (of face): 20 cm (7 7/8 in.)

Accession Number

99.344

Medium or Technique

Marble from the Greek island of Paros

On View

Classical Roman Gallery (Gallery 213)

Collections

The Ancient World

Classifications

Sculpture

A marble bust with 18th century restorations; probably inserted into a full length draped statue. It perhaps was created for a private villa at Ariccia, near Rome, where it was found. This is a posthumous portrait of Augustus with many features that suggest that it dates to the late 30s or 40s A.D., although the rendering of the hair general expression are more suggestive of a second century date. The portrait is carved out of Lychnites marble from the Greek island of Paros, one of the most prestigious and expensive marbles in antiquity.

This portrait of the Emperor Augustus (27 B.C.-A.D. 14) shows curly locks of hair, no wrinkles, softened bone structure; these features indicate is an idealized image influenced by Greek statues of athletes and athletic gods.

Scientific Analysis:

University of South Florida Lab No. 8421: Isotope ratios - delta13C +4.8/ delta18O -3.7,

Attribution - Paros 1, Marathi (Lychnites quarry). Justification - C and O isotopes, medium grain

Provenance

According to Warren's records and entry 329 in Sculpture in Stone: by 18th century: found at Ariccia, near Rome, between 1787 and 1796; by 1845: collection of Cardinal Despuig, Archbishop of Valencia, at Raxa, near Palma, island of Majorca; 1899: acquired from Lorenzo Rossello y Rosselli by Edward Perry Warren; 1899: purchased by MFA from Edward Perry Warren for $ 32,500.00 (this is the total price for MFA 99.338-99.542)

Credit Line

Henry Lillie Pierce Fund