Portrait of a young man

Imperial Period
about A.D. 98–117

Catalogue Raisonné

Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 352.


46.5 x 16 cm (18 5/16 x 6 5/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Marble from Göktepe, Turkey (near Aphrodisias)

Not On View


The Ancient World



This portrait was supposedly found outside the quarter of Porta Salaria where large tombs were discovered and probably commemorates a deceased person.
The arrangement of the young man’s hair and the length of the bust, to the bottom of the ribcage, follow fashions set by court portraitists under the Emperor Trajan (A.D. 98-117). This bust was carved about A.D. 110.

The break along the lower edge suggests that a large acanthus leaf once supported the bust-a typical convention for portraits of the dead.

Most of the nose and a piece of the brow are restored. The chin and the lower edge of the bust are slightly damaged. The surfaces are covered with root marks, and they have a mottled yellow and brown coloring.

Scientific Analysis:

University of South Florida Lab No. 8427: Isotope ratios - delta13C +1.9 / delta18O -2.9,

Istituto di Struttura della Materia - CNR Lab No. 1 (January 30, 2012): maximum grain size: 0.4mm; electron paramagnetic resonance: intensity 3.7%, line width 51.5%; color % 82

Attribution - Göktepe, Turkey (near Aphrodisias). Justification - C and O isotopes, fine grain, low EPR intensity


By 1888: with Eliseo Borghi (said to have been found in the new quarter outside the Porta Salaria in Rome); purchased by R. Lanciani from Eliseo Borghi; purchased by MFA from R. Lanciani, 1888, for $491.89 (this is the total purchase price for MFA 88.346–530)

Credit Line

Everett Fund