Portrait bust of a statesman or philosopher

Imperial Period
about A.D. 110–130

Catalogue Raisonné

Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 118; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 109 (additional published references).


Height x width: 48 x 25 cm (18 7/8 x 9 13/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Marble from Mt. Pentelikon near Athens

Not On View


The Ancient World



The herm presents a free rendering, made in the Hellenistic or Graeco-Roman periods, after a bronze ideal portrait of the fifth or fourth century B.C. The end of the nose is damaged, and there are abrasions on the smooth surfaces and in the hair. The arms of the herm are restored. The top center of the head is hollowed out and contains a large lead filling, seemingly to attach a helmet made of bronze.

Scientific Analysis:
Harvard Lab No. HI763: Isotope ratios - delta13C +2.96 / delta18O -7.68, Attribution - Pentelikon, Justification - White, fine grained marble.


Karol Lanckoronski (b. 1848 – d. 1933), Vienna [see note 1]; by descent to his son, Anton Lanckoronski (b. 1893 – d. 1956), Vienna and Zurich; 1939, confiscated with the Lanckoronski collection by Nazi forces, but remained at the Palais Lanckoronski, Vienna (AL 882); 1943, probably removed to the Augustinerkeller beneath the Albertina, Vienna [see note 2]; by about 1947, restituted to Anton Lanckoronski [see note 3]; by descent to his sister, Countess Adelheid (Adelajda) Lanckoronska (b. 1903 – d. 1980), Vienna and Zurich; July 11, 1967, Adelheid Lanckoronska sale, Sotheby’s, London (“Egyptian, Bronze Age, Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities"), lot 147, to Herbert A. Cahn (dealer), Basel; probably sold by Cahn to Mr. and Mrs. Charles S. Lipson, Boston; 1967, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Lipson to the MFA. (Accession Date: December 13, 1967)

[1] According to dealer Herbert Cahn, this bust came from the Lanckoronski collection. A photograph of this sculpture at the photoarchive maintained by the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, Rome, is dated 1938 and annotated “Lanckoronski Collection.” (Accessible at http://arachne.uni-koeln.de/item/marbilderbestand/840346. Many thanks to Jörg Deterling for this reference.) Karol Lanckoronski built his art collection at his palace in Vienna. This bust was probably among the numerous antiquities mentioned in the 1903 guide “Palais Lanckoronski: Jacquingasse 18” (Vienna, 1903).

[2] On the fate of the Lanckoronski collection during the National Socialist era and its subsequent restitution, see Joanna Winiewicz-Wolska, Karol Lanckoronski and his Viennese Collection (Cracow, 2014), vol. 1, pp. 341 – 403. Because the family claimed Polish citizenship, the art collection was subject to expropriation. The Gestapo confiscated the collection in 1939. Most of the antiquities remained at the Palais Lanckoronski, where they were inventoried in 1942. This bust of a man is probably AL (August Lanckoronski) 882, “Hermenbüste auf modernen Schaft. Bildnis eines bärtigen Mannes. Pentelischer Marmor. Nasenspitze ergänzt. 4 Jh. v. Chr (antike Kopie),” 48 cm. h., no. 1110 on the 1942 inventory (Winiewicz-Wolska, p. 485). The antiquities were moved in 1943 to the Augustinerkeller, where they remained for the duration of World War II (ibid., pp. 376, 388; and see Pia Schölnberger, "Die Bergungsmassnahmen der Graphischen Sammlung Albertina unter George Saiko," in Bergung von Kulturgut im Nationalsozialismus (Vienna, 2016), pp. 142-145).

[3] In 1947, an old photograph of the sculpture was published by Georg Lippold, ed., Photographische Einzelaufnahmen Antiker Sculpturen (Munich, 1947), no. 5052, as on the art market, with no reference to the Lanckoronski family, information that was evidently out of date. The majority of the collection was restituted to the Lanckoronski family by 1947.

Credit Line

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles S. Lipson