Head of a young man

Roman
Imperial Period
A.D. 160–170, possibly modified about A.D. 220


Dimensions

Height x width x depth: 36 x 16.5 x 19 cm (14 3/16 x 6 1/2 x 7 1/2 in.)

Accession Number

2004.2232

Medium or Technique

Marble, probably from Carrara, Italy

Not On View

Collections

The Ancient World

Classifications

Sculpture

Square-shaped face of a young man with a long neck and with a heavy chin. The wide set-eyes with drilled pupils and incised iris and tear ducts are framed by plastically engraved eyebrows. The hair is parted in the center with short locks brushed to both sides. Wisps of hair lightly incised on both cheeks and above the upper lip. Both sides of the head have been cut back to create a central ridge running most of the length of the head. This ridge most likely received a separately made coiffure or a helmet.

Condition: Deep break at nose with smaller breaks along the left side of the mouth and upper lip. Large break at the left side of the base of the neck. Small gashes, pinpoint losses, and scratches visible throughout. Smooth marble surface of the face and neck contrasts with the rough surface of the top of the head along the ridge and bottom of the neck. Linear indentations along both sides of the central ridge. An iron pin, possibly an original dowel, is fixed in the center of the bottom of the neck.


The ridge atop this head allowed attachment of a separate piece, now lost. This ridge is unusually tall, suggesting it may have supported a large wig of a sort fashionable among Roman women in the late second and early third centuries A.D; alternatively, the missing piece could have been a helmet pushed back above the forehead, as the goddess Minerva (Athena to the Greeks) often wore hers. Either way, the wisps of a beard on both cheeks and above the upper lip suggest the head was subsequently modified to portray a young man.

Provenance

By about 1971: with Nicolas Koutoulakis, 3, Chemin de Conches, Geneva, Switzerland; about 1971: purchased by Ariel Herrmann from Nicolas Koutoulakis; gift of Ariel Herrmann to MFA in honor of John J. Herrmann, Jr., Curator of Classical Art, 1976-2004, December 2004

Credit Line

Gift of Ariel Herrmann in honor of John J. Herrmann, Jr., Curator of Classical Art, 1976-2004