Head of Athena; Roman copy based on a Greek original

Imperial Period, Flavian to Antonine

Catalogue Raisonné

Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 150; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 111 (additional published references).


Height: 38 cm (14 15/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Marble, very crystalline

Not On View


The Ancient World



This is the head and neck (broken off) of a once-very-good replica of the Athena known as the Athena or the Minerva Giustiani, from the famous copy long in the Braccio Nuovo of the Musei Vaticani.
The end of the helmet’s visor, the nose, the lips, and the chin are restored. The surfaces are very worn, and they have a grayish-yellow combination of deposit and weathering on them. The top rear of the helmet has been broken away, and there is a large dowel hole in the break or old cutting. There is also a large, round dowel hole, with a lead filling, in the lower back of the helmet, as if the head had once belonged to a pedimental group.
The drilling and cutting of the flowing locks of hair below the helmet behind the left ear indicate that this copy was fashioned in the Flavian to the Antonine periods of the Roman Empire.


By 1928, Hagop Kevorkian (b. 1872 - d. 1962), New York; January 20-21, 1928, Kevorkian sale, American Art Association, New York, lot 373, to Joseph Brummer (b. 1883 - d. 1947), Brummer Gallery, New York (stock no. N2257); June 9, 1949, Brummer sale, Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, lot 418 [see note]. 1971, sold by a Persian dealer in New York to Jerome M. Eisenberg (dealer), New York; 1971, sold by Jerome M. Eisenberg to Fred M. Richman, New York; 1971, gift of Fred M. Richman to the MFA. (Accession Date: December, 1971)

NOTE: Many thanks to Jörg Deterling for his assistance in locating this record.

Credit Line

Gift of Fred M. Richman