Portrait head of a Flavian man
Roman Imperial Period
probably A.D. 70–95
Findspot: Anatolia (Turkey), Troad, Assos (Behramkale), Street of tombs, near great gate
Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 348; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 115 (additional published references).
22.3 cm (8 3/4 in.)
Medium or Technique
Marble, probably from the Greek island of Paros
Not On View
The right side of the face and the upper half of the head itself are preserved. The carving has been supplemented by use of the running drill around the eyes and drill points in the ear(s). The surfaces are much worn and weathered, before and after the nose was lost.
Although this head is unquestionably that of a private individual, an elderly man, stylistic details as well as the general approach to verism are close enough to the Vespasian from Pergamon, in the Bergama Museum, to indicate the two were carved in the same atelier, if not by the same sculptor. The Flavian qualities of the hair of the Assos head are evident on the top over the forehead, and behind the surviving ear.
This head belongs to a phase of portraiture in Asia Minor in which Hellenistic ideal naturalism tempered the revived Roman Republican austerity of the Flavian period to produce a noble form of imperial, civic, and private sculpture, one which fused several varying traditions in Greek and Roman or Italic art.
Harvard Lab No. HI249: Isotope ratios - delta13C +4.29 / delta18O -2.84, Attribution - Paros 1, Prokonnesos, Thasos-Cape Vathy, Ephesos 1, Sardis.
From Assos (Behramkale, Turkey); found in the street of tombs, near great gate. 188?: excavated by the Archaeological Institute of America; gift of the Archaeological Institute of America to MFA, January 1884.
Gift of the Archaeological Institute of America