Marble; H. 51 1/2 in. (130.8 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1909 (09.221.4)
For the ancient Greeks, it was important to represent the entire figure in a portrait, not just the head as became popular in Roman portraiture. Although the head is missing from this statue, the turn of the upper body to the left, the three holes beneath the left shoulder, and the angular hollow at the inner side of the left arm suggest that the figure was playing the kithara (lyre) and, consequently, is best identified as a poet. The composition of the drapery with its massive folds, the dignified pose, and the skillful execution make this one of the best Greek seated portrait statues that have survived. The statue is likely to be a retrospective portrait of one of the great Greek poets of the Hellenistic age, such as Kallimachos or Theokritos, or perhaps one of the legendary bards of earlier days portrayed in Hellenistic style.
This marble statue is a Roman copy of a Hellenistic sculpture, signed by the Roman copyist Zeuxis, on the front of the seat, above the left foot.