Portrait of a bald man
Late Republican Period
about 60–30 B.C.
Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 321; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 114 (additional published references).
Height x length (of face): 33 x 25 cm (13 x 9 13/16 in.)
Medium or Technique
Marble, from Dokimeion in Phrygia (modern Turkey)
Classical Roman Gallery (Gallery 213)
The over-life sized portrait presents an old man either completely bald or with his head closely shaven. The surface was left slightly rough at the back of the skull, indicating a draped statue set in a niche or against a wall. Unsparing naturalism has been used for all individual details, the ugly outline of the skull, the furrowed forehead, the swelling beneath the eyes, and the loose flesh hanging in folds and creases about mouth and jaw.
The man has not been identified.
Palombino, a hard volcanic stone, was used in Rome chiefly at the end of the Republican period.
Little of the neck is preserved. Most of the nose is missing; the ears, chin, temples, and right cheekbone have been damaged.
By 1899: with Edward Perry Warren (according to Warren's records: Bought in Rome. 1899); 1899: purchased by MFA from Edward Perry Warren for $ 32,500.00 (this is the total price for MFA 99.338-99.542)
Henry Lillie Pierce Fund