The philosopher Metrodoros

Imperial Period
about A.D. 150

Catalogue Raisonné

Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 124; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 110 (additional published references).


37.5 cm (14 3/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Marble from Mt. Pentelikon near Athens

Not On View


The Ancient World



The nose is missing, having been formerly restored; there is a break on the left eyebrow; the right half of the mustache and the right ear have also been damaged, as has the rim of the left. The neck was broken into three pieces and has been rejoined. The surfaces are fairly clean.
This statue showed the philosopher seated. Within the strong framework of classic Greek idealism, Metrodoros is presented as a serene man of noble middle age, displaying carefully combed hair and a rich, curling beard. This copy has suffered somewhat over the centuries from antiquity to the Renaissance to modern times, but it still catches much of the meticulous grandeur of the early Hellenistic statue.

Scientific Analysis:
Harvard Lab No. HI750: Isotope ratios - delta13C +2.58 / delta18O -6.23, Attribution - Pentelikon, Justification - Fine grained marble.

Label text:
Roman Imperial period, around A.D. 150, copied after an Early Hellenistic original of around 275 B.C.
Marble from Mt. Pentelikon near Athens.
Metrodorus was one of the most important Epicurean philosophers. His portrait, set up in the grounds of the Epicurean School at Athens, has much in common with that of Epicurus, the school’s founder and Metrodorus’ beloved friend. Epicureanism taught that man is mortal, that the world is the result of accident, that there is no providential god, and that the criterion of the good life is pleasure.


Said to have been brought from Rome in the seventeenth century; in the collection of Thomas 8th Earl of Pembroke (1654-1732), Wilton House, Wiltshire, England; until 1961: Earl of Pembroke Collection at Wilton House; 1961: with Christie, Manson & Woods, Ltd., 8 King Street, St. James's, London, S.W. 1 (auction of marbles from the Earl of Pembroke collection, July 3, 1961, lot 114); by 1967: with Münzen und Medaillen A.G., Malzgasse 25, Basel, Switzerland (auction 34, May 6, 1967, lot 204); purchased at the Münzen und Medallion auction by Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius C. Vermeule III; loaned to MFA by Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius C. Vermeule III, June 29, 1967 (as 179.67); gift of Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius C. Vermeule III in the name of Cornelius Adrian Comstock Vermeule to MFA, December 17, 1986

Credit Line

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius C. Vermeule III in the Name of Cornelius Adrian Comstock Vermeule