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A ROMAN BRONZE PORTRAIT HEAD OF A MAN
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About the item

A ROMAN BRONZE PORTRAIT HEAD OF A MAN\nCIRCA SECOND QUARTER OF THE 3RD CENTURY A.D.\nLife-size, naturalistically depicted, with high cheek-bones, creases below the eyes and around the jaw line, the large eyes with articulated pupils, broad straight nose, his narrow lips pressed together, philtrum defined, the high forehead with three incised lines, hairline receding, with short cropped military-style haircut rendered by evenly-spaced hammered strokes, with large prominent ears and incised lines on the neck\n14½ in. (36.9 cm.) high
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notes

This portrait dates to the period of the Soldier Emperors. When the Severan Dynasty ended in the mid 3rd Century A.D., there was political turmoil in Rome and military anarchy throughout the Empire. There followed a succession of short reigns by the Soldier Emperors (235-284 A.D.), fierce military men who held the reins of power only with the support of the army. Almost all came to power following the murder of the preceding emperor, and most reigns would in turn come to a premature and violent end. More than sixteen men bore the title of emperor during this turbulent period, including Maximinus Thrax, Pupienus, Balbinus, Gordian III, Philip the Arab, Trajan Decius, Trebonianus Gallus, Aemilianus, Valerian, Gallienus, Claudius Gothicus, Aurelian, Tacitus, Probus, Carus, Carinus and Numerianus. Portraits in marble and bronze during this period are characterised by austere realism, including the closely-cropped hair and beard of the military and the deep creases in the forehead and face that seem to echo the anguish of this turbulent time.

For related examples in bronze depicting Trebonianus Gallus, cf. C. A. Picón et al., Art of the Classical World in the Metropolitan Musuem of Art, New York, 2007, no. 471. See also F. Johansen, Catalogue, Roman Portraits III, Glyptotek Ny-Carlsberg, Copenhagen, 1995, nos. 49 & 57; and K. De Kersauson, Catalogue des portraits romains, Tome II, de l'année de la guerre civile (68-69 ap. J.-C.) à la fin de l'Empire, 1996, no. 217, p. 464.

title

A ROMAN BRONZE PORTRAIT HEAD OF A MAN

keywords

3rd Century, Ancient Art & Antiquities, statue, bronze, Roman

department

Ancient Art & Antiquities

dimensions

14½ in. (36.9 cm.) high

provenance

Private collection, Germany, 1980s.

Acquired by the current owner in 2001.

special_notice

VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 20% on the buyer's premium.


*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.

*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.


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