Portrait of a man

Imperial Period, Trajanic
about A.D. 98–117

Catalogue Raisonné

Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 351.


Height: 9.5 cm (3 3/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Marble, from Paros, quarries at Marathi (Lychnites)

Not On View


The Ancient World



The end of the nose has been sliced away; the head was broken off near the top of the neck.
The man’s irregular locks are carefully carved on the forehead but only sketchily indicated on the top and back of the head.
The head’s small size makes it difficult to imagine how the portrait was used, either as a draped bust or as a statue in himation or toga. In any of these instances the image must have been carved for a family shrine or for a tomb of limited dimensions. A wreath in another material may have been placed around the head to hide the sketched-out hair. Working of the hair at the base of the head and the sidewise glance of the eyes make it difficult to associate this portrait with a high relief.
The date in the reign of Trajan (A.D. 98-117) is reached by comparison with similar heads, dated not only from their hair styles but also from the depth to which chest and shoulders have been represented in the form of busts. This arrangement of hair combed freely over the forehad and back toward the ears seems to pass out of fashion not long after the year 110.

Scientific Analysis:

University of South Florida Lab No. 8469: Isotope ratios - delta13C +4.2 / delta18O -3.7,

Attribution - Paros 1, Marathi (Lychnites). Justification - C and O isotopes, fine to medium grain.


By 1901: with E. P. Warren (according to Warren's records: Bought in Athens.); purchased by MFA from E. P. Warren, December 1901

Credit Line

Henry Lillie Pierce Fund