Bearded head with wreath of leaves
Second half of the 5th c. B.C.
Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 441; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 117 (additional published references).
28.6 cm (11 1/4 in.)
Medium or Technique
Not On View
The lower half of the beard falls in corkscrew curls, while the upper half of the beard and the mustache are slightly wavy. The lips are thick, and the deep-set eyes have thick eyelids. Above the forehead, the hair is tightly curled and surmounted by a vegetal wreath composed of ivy (or grape) and laurel leaves.
Such sculptures of wreathed, bearded men were common from the late 6th c. B.C. through the Hellenistic period. The head would have been attached to a life sized body and offered as a dedication at a sanctuary, possibly the sanctuary of Golgoi-Ayios Photios. Wreaths like this one were worn during religious ceremonies.
This particular statue has features which are associated with Pheidias’ statue of Zeus at Olympia.
Condition: The wreath, some curls on the forehead, the nose, and the neck have been slightly chipped. The surfaces have a crusty brown patina.
By date unknown: with General Luigi Palma di Cesnola (from Cyprus); May 16, 1872: purchased by MFA from General Luigi Palma di Cesnola for
$ 1,704.39 (this figure is the total price for MFA 72.1-72.473 and 72.4871-72.4900)
Museum purchase with funds donated by subscription