Head of Athena; Roman copy based on a Greek original

Imperial Period, Flavian to Antonine

Catalogue Raisonné

Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 150; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 111 (additional published references).


Height: 38 cm (14 15/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Marble, very crystalline

Not On View


The Ancient World



This is the head and neck (broken off) of a once-very-good replica of the Athena known as the Athena or the Minerva Giustiani, from the famous copy long in the Braccio Nuovo of the Musei Vaticani.
The end of the helmet’s visor, the nose, the lips, and the chin are restored. The surfaces are very worn, and they have a grayish-yellow combination of deposit and weathering on them. The top rear of the helmet has been broken away, and there is a large dowel hole in the break or old cutting. There is also a large, round dowel hole, with a lead filling, in the lower back of the helmet, as if the head had once belonged to a pedimental group.
The drilling and cutting of the flowing locks of hair below the helmet behind the left ear indicate that this copy was fashioned in the Flavian to the Antonine periods of the Roman Empire.


By 1971: with Jerome M. Eisenberg, 44 East 82nd Street, New York, N.Y. 10028 (purchased by him from a Persian dealer in New York); purchased from Jerome M. Eisenberg by Fred M. Richman; gift of Fred M. Richman to MFA, December 1971

Credit Line

Gift of Fred M. Richman