Head of Herakles (Copenhagen-Dresden type)

Roman
Imperial Period
A.D. 1–150


Catalogue Raisonné

Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 163; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 111 (additional published references).

Dimensions

Height x length (of face): 33 x 17 cm (13 x 6 11/16 in.)

Accession Number

97.287

Medium or Technique

Marble from Mt. Pentelikon near Athens

Not On View

Collections

The Ancient World

Classifications

Sculpture

Head of Herakles of the Copenhagen-Dresden type showing an aged, weary hero.

The nose is restored; the outer part of the right ear is broken and rubbed away, the left ear has been damaged, and some locks of the hair have been rubbed. There is an iron hoop with lead plug at the back of the head and a small bronze pin at the front of the neck.

Scientific Analysis:
Harvard Lab No. HI773: Isotope ratios - delta13C +2.88 / delta18O -7.46, Attribution - Pentelikon, Justification - Fine grained marble.

Provenance

Possibly by 1726, Francesco Trevisan (b. 1658 - d. 1732), Venice [see note 1]; 1732, by inheritance to his nephews, children of Soretta Trevisan and Giovanni Suarez; 1808, by inheritance to Angelo I Giacomo Giustiniani Recanati (b. 1757 - d. 1813), Palazzo alle Zattere, Venice; 1822, still in Giustiniani collection, Venice [see note 2]. By 1897, acquired by Edward Perry Warren (b. 1860 - d. 1928), London; 1897, sold by Edward Perry Warren to the MFA [see note 3]. (Accession Date: October 5, 1897)

Notes
[1] See Irene Favaretto, Arte Antica e Cultura Antiquaria nelle Collezioni Venete al Tempo della Serenissima (Rome, 1990), p. 379, pl. 54, showing an engraved illustration of this head, then in the form of a bust, from a 1726 catalogue of the Trevisan collection (Museo Trevisan, no. 35, “Ercole”). According to Edward Perry Warren's records, the head was said to be from the Nani collection, but John Marshall inquired in Venice "and was assured by Zuber that it came with many things that went to Berlin from the Trevisano-Guistiniani collection." Many thanks to Jörg Deterling with his assistance in verifying its ownership by Trevisan.

[2] The head appears in the collection at the Palazzo alle Zattere, Venice, in the travel journal Reisen in Italien seit 1822 (1826), p. 259, as “a noble Hercules, supplemented only by the nose”. It is unclear when the Trevisan-Giustiniani collection was sold (on the dispersal of the collection, see Favaretto 1990 (as above, n. 1), pp. 193-195). Acquisitions of portraits from the collection by the Glyptotek in Copenhagen in 1887 and statues by the Antikensammlung in Berlin in 1897 suggest the dispersal of the collection around this time, although it may have occurred earlier.

[3] Sold for $25,000.00 (the total price for MFA accession nos. 97.285-97.442 and 97.1104).

Credit Line

Catharine Page Perkins Fund