Drusus Senior, brother of Emperor Tiberius
Early Imperial Period
about 18 B.C.
Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 332; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 114 (additional published references).
41 x 17 cm (16 1/8 x 6 11/16 in.)
Medium or Technique
Marble, from Mt. Pentelikon near Athens
Classical Roman Gallery (Gallery 213)
The portrait was long thought to represent the young Tiberius, but is now considered to be his brother, Nero Drusus, who was born in 38 and died in 9 B.C. The head was probably carved around the year 18 B.C., when Nero Drusus was elected to the office quaestor, when he was 20 (five years younger than the traditional legal age for holding this office).
In this case, the portrait would make a chronological if not geographical pair with young Tiberius from southwest Asia Minor (1971.393).
The base of the neck has been worked for insertion, and the sculpture is in generally excellent condition. The tip of the nose has been damaged, and there are small breaks in the hair and at the edge of the veil.
The head, made separately for insertion in a draped statue, is turned and inclined very slightly to the right. The toga was drawn up like a veil, indicating that the subject was represented as a priest or magistrate making a sacrifice. He was doubtless standing and probably holding a patera in his right hand.
By 1888: with Pirani (said to have been found in Rome); sold by Pirani to R. Lanciani (who said it very likely came from Civita Lavinia); purchased by MFA from R. Lanciani,1888, for $491.89 (this is the total purchase price for MFA 88.346–530)