Head of Herakles, after Lysippos
Late Hellenistic Period
1st century B.C.
Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 104A; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 109 (additional published references).
Height: 28 cm (11 in.)
Medium or Technique
Not On View
The left side of the nose was broken away, and, aside from the diagonal break at the neck and raised left shoulder, the head is in excellent condition. The surfaces have suffered some weathering or similar, natural abrasion. The marble has a yellow patina, with brown stains (from soil or metal?) on the face and the left side of the hair, neck, and beard.
This head is a free, Hellenistic creation, of considerable quality in terms of Greek marble sculpture after bronze prototypes, based on the Weary Herakles fashioned about 320 B.C. for the agora-complex at Sikyon or the gymnasium and baths at Salamis on Cyprus, seemingly work of the Hadrianic period, gives an excellent idea of how a more complex version of this particular figure in marble would have appeared.
Marble has been scientifically tested with X-Ray Diffraction and X-Ray Florescence and determined to be Calcitic.
Harvard Lab No. HI096: Isotope ratios - delta13C +1.82 / delta18O -2.67, Attribution - Paros 2, Prokonnesos, Thasos-Cape Phaneri& Thasos-Aliki, Usak, Ephesos 2, Heracleia, Mylasa, Naxos-Melanes; Justification - Coarse-grained marble.
By about 1973: with Antiken (H. Herzer & Co.), Promenadeplatz 13, 8 Munich 2, Germany (from a private collection in Bavaria); purchased by MFA from Antiken (H. Herzer & Co.), January 14, 1976
Helen and Alice Colburn Fund