Portrait head of Socrates

Roman
Imperial Period
about A.D. 170–195


Catalogue Raisonné

Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 120; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 109 (additional published references); Highlights: Classical Art (MFA), p. 170.

Dimensions

Overall: 20.4cm (8 1/16in.)

Accession Number

60.45

Medium or Technique

Marble from Mt. Pentelikon near Athens

On View

Greek Classical Gallery (Gallery 215B)

Collections

The Ancient World

Classifications

Sculpture

This smallish head of Socrates was probably a herm-portrait originally. The vigorous carving belongs to the Antonine period, although it was likely based on a prototype attributed to Lysippos from the fourth century B.C.

Condition: The head is broken at the base of the neck. The nose, now missing, was repaired in antiquity with an iron pin and cement. There are a few modern pick marks on the face. Root marks and a yellow patina cover the surfaces.

Scientific Analysis:
Isotope ratios - delta13C +2.637 / delta18O -5.170, Attribution - Pentelikon, Justification (Petrographic Analysis) - maximum grain size (0.7mm), accessory minerals (muscovite).

Provenance

By date unknown: said to be from the collection of an Eastern European diplomat; by date unknown: with Byron Th. Zoumboulakis, 8 Place de la Taconnerie, Geneva, Switzerland; February 11, 1960: purchased by MFA from Byron Th. Zoumboulakis for $ 2,000.00

Credit Line

Frederick Brown Fund