Portrait of a man
Roman, Asia Minor
Imperial, late Hadrianic or early Antonine
About A.D. 125–145
Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 357; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 115 (additional published references).
Height: 33cm (13 in.); length (of face): 16.5 cm (6 1/2 in.)
Medium or Technique
Marble, from Göktepe, Turkey (near Aphrodisias)
Not On View
The head is broken off at the base of the neck. The greater part of the nose, most of the right ear, and the lobe of the left have been broken away. The lower lip and the chin have been injured, and the surface of the hair on the right side is worn. On this side there are remains of the yellowish brown paint with which the hair was colored. Traces of a cement-like deposit occur in the hair, in the ears, and on the neck. The surfaces are in excellent condition.
The head of a middle-aged man of the late Hadrianic period came from Tralles in the Maeander valley of southwest Asia Minor. Aydin-Tralles was, in the days of the modern Greeks in Asia Minor, a center for finds from many coastal and inland sites. The indefinite, intellectual, almost “dreamy” style,the type of marble and technical details of carving, and the subject, a man of intellect or pretensions thereto, all suggest this head from a statue was carved and set up at Aphrodisias in Caria.
The dramatic sidelong glance makes this masterful portrait seem unusually momentary, active, and even visionary. This kind of energetic characterization originated in the portraits of Alexander the Great (356-323 B.C.) and continued in those of his successors, the Hellenistic kings of Asia Minor and the Levant. In this case, the dynamic characterization probably signifies that this Roman, who was not the emperor, was a general or high official of the Imperial administration.
University of South Florida Lab No. 8431: Isotope ratios - delta13C +2.9 / delta18O -2.8,
Istituto di Struttura della Materia - CNR Lab No. 4 (January 30, 2012): maximum grain size: 0.4mm; electron paramagnetic resonance: intensity 2.1%, line width 50.3%; color % 77, Sr ppm 822
Attribution - Göktepe 3, Turkey (near Aphrodisias). Justification - C and O isotopes, fine grain, low EPR intensity, high Sr
By date unknown: with Edward Perry Warren (according to Warren's records: The head was found in Tralles and was bought in Smyrna.); 1899: purchased by MFA from Edward Perry Warren for $ 32,500.00 (this is the total price for MFA 99.338-99.542)
Henry Lillie Pierce Fund