Helmeted head of the god Mars (Ares)

Roman Provincial
Imperial Period
about A.D. 135


Place of Manufacture: Roman Empire (Asia Minor)

Catalogue Raisonné

Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), no. 021.

Dimensions

Height: 44 cm (17 5/16 in.)

Accession Number

1977.712

Medium or Technique

Marble from Dokimeion (modern Afyon) in west-central Asia Minor

Not On View

Collections

The Ancient World

Classifications

Sculpture

Probably a copy after the colossal cult image in the temple of Ares at Halicarnassus, on the acropolis and once attributed to Leochares or Timotheos (Vitruvius, II, 8, 11) but like the Demeter of Knidos, certain “portraits” from the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, and the young Alexander the Great from the Athenian Acropolis, the image of Ares is to be identified with the former sculptor.
Condition: A bit of the upper part of the neck is preserved. The nose is mostly broken away and the visor and plume of the helmet have been chipped. The head, particularly the skin areas of the face, was cleaned aggressively to remove a brown encrustation.

Scientific Analysis:
Harvard Lab No. HI245: Isotope ratios - delta13C +1.58 / delta18O -4.29, Attribution - Dokimeion, Justification - Fine grained marble.

[Label text]:
Variation of a Greek prototype of the fourth century B. C.
The head is characterized as Ares, god of war, by his plumed helmet and his idealized features. Details of the helmet are somewhat misunderstood, since this type was no longer used in Roman times. The fringe of hair above his forehead shows a hint of Trajanic or Hadrianic fashion. It is difficult to say whether the statue from which the head comes was an interpretation, influenced by contemporary taste, of some nearby famous monument like Leochares’ Ares of Halicarnassus (modern Bodrum in southwest Asia Minor), or whether it was an idealized portrait of a Roman general with the attributes of the god.

Provenance

By 1976, Mohammad Yeganeh (dealer; b. 1929 - d. 2012), London [see note]; 1977, sold by Mohammad Yeganeh to the MFA. (Accession Date: October 12, 1977)

NOTE: According to the dealer at the time of acquisition, this is said to have came from Asia Minor, or the Near East.

Credit Line

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius C. Vermeule III, by exchange