Marble statue of a member of the imperial family

Period: Augustan or Julio-Claudian

Date: 27 B.C.–A.D. 68

Culture: Roman

Medium: Marble

Dimensions: H. 46 in. (116.84 cm)
Width: 25 1/4 in. (64.14 cm)
Depth: 14 1/2 in. (36.83 cm)

Classification: Stone Sculpture

Credit Line: Bequest of Bill Blass, 2002

Accession Number: 2003.407.9


Although headless, this powerful Roman portrait statue immediately communicates the impressive grandeur of its subject. In antiquity, this statue was paired with a similar figure, now also in the Metropolitan Museum (2002.407.8a,b), which together probably formed part of a statuary group honoring the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Gaius and Lucius, the adopted grandsons of the emperor Augustus, are most likely represented.
The figure is depicted in the semi-nude fashion of Greek heroes. His muscular body conveys his youthful, athletic vigor, and he wears a Greek mantle, masterfully carved with deep, slender folds of drapery. The lower edge of the garment preserves a painted narrow purple band that, on close examination, retains vestiges of gold leaf. This gilding sought to evoke the luxurious embroidered gold-thread brocade of the finest textiles.