Helmeted head of the god Mars (Ares)
about A.D. 135
Place of Manufacture: Roman Empire (Asia Minor)
Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), no. 021.
Height: 44 cm (17 5/16 in.)
Medium or Technique
Marble from Dokimeion (modern Afyon) in west-central Asia Minor
Not On View
Probably a copy after the colossal cult image in the temple of Ares at Halicarnassus, on the acropolis and once attributed to Leochares or Timotheos (Vitruvius, II, 8, 11) but like the Demeter of Knidos, certain “portraits” from the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, and the young Alexander the Great from the Athenian Acropolis, the image of Ares is to be identified with the former sculptor.
Condition: A bit of the upper part of the neck is preserved. The nose is mostly broken away and the visor and plume of the helmet have been chipped. The head, particularly the skin areas of the face, was cleaned aggressively to remove a brown encrustation.
Harvard Lab No. HI245: Isotope ratios - delta13C +1.58 / delta18O -4.29, Attribution - Dokimeion, Justification - Fine grained marble.
Variation of a Greek prototype of the fourth century B. C.
The head is characterized as Ares, god of war, by his plumed helmet and his idealized features. Details of the helmet are somewhat misunderstood, since this type was no longer used in Roman times. The fringe of hair above his forehead shows a hint of Trajanic or Hadrianic fashion. It is difficult to say whether the statue from which the head comes was an interpretation, influenced by contemporary taste, of some nearby famous monument like Leochares’ Ares of Halicarnassus (modern Bodrum in southwest Asia Minor), or whether it was an idealized portrait of a Roman general with the attributes of the god.
By 1977: with Mohammad Yeganeh, 75a Ridgmount Gardens, London, W.C.1 (according to his invoice of July 12, 1976: Provenience: allegedly near East); purchased by MFA from Mohammad Yeganeh, October 12, 1977
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius C. Vermeule III, by exchange