Deaccessioned September 24, 2015
Portrait head of Demosthenes
1st–2nd century A.D.
Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 122; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 110 (additional published references).
Height (max.) x length (of face): 19 x 13 cm (7 1/2 x 5 1/8 in.)
Medium or Technique
Marble from Carrara in northwest Italy
Although damage to the surface of this portrait has obscured certain facial details, the characteristic features of Demosthenes are readily identifiable: the long, oval face with short beard, the sunken eyes beneath contracted brows, short, thick hair, and the straight rather severe mouth. Despite the worn state of the bust, the artist’s insight into his subject’s character is perhaps evident in his comprehensive image of the aging but determined statesman.
The end of the nose, tip of left ear lobe, and portion of right eyebrow are missing. The beard is considerably worn, and the surface is generally heavily abraded.
Harvard Lab No. HI736: Isotope ratios - delta13C +2.20 / delta18O -2.15, Attribution - Carrara, Justification - Fine grained marble.
1972, gift of Jeannette Brun (dealer), Dufourstrasse 119, Zurich to the MFA. (Accession Date: September 13, 1972)
Gift of Miss Jeanette Brun