Marble head of a Greek general

1st–2nd century A.D.
Marble, Pentelic ?
19 1/8 in. (48.6 cm)
Stone Sculpture
Credit Line:
Fletcher Fund, 1924
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 160
Copy of a Greek bronze statue of the middle of the 4th century B.C.

This powerful portrayal of a man of action belongs to a type popular in Roman times. One suggestion for his identity is the strategos (general) Phokion, pupil of Plato and one of the foremost Athenian statesmen of the fourth century B.C., but there is little evidence to support that theory. We do not know if the original statue was a contemporary portrait, like the famous fifth-century portrait of the Athenian statesman and general Perikles, or a posthumous work. It could even be a representation of a hero from the mythic past. He wears a Corinthian helmet pushed up and resting on the back of his head. The helmet is elaborately decorated in relief with griffins on the bowl and rams’ heads on the cheek pieces and is similar to a type worn by the goddess Athena. His eyes would have been inlaid in another material. The head has been worked for insertion into a statue.
Until 1924, with Alfredo Barsanti, Rome]; acquired in 1924, purchased from A. Barsanti.

Alexander, Christine. 1930. "Miscellaneous Classical Sculptures." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 25(7): pp. 166–67, fig. 1.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1953. Handbook of the Greek Collection. pp. 122, 260, pl. 100d, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1954. Catalogue of Greek Sculptures. no. 104, p. 67, pl. 84, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

von Bothmer, Dietrich. 1978. Antichnoe iskusstvo iz muzeia Metropoliten, Soedinennye Shtaty Ameriki: Katalog vystavki. no. 62, Moscow: Sovetskii Khudozhnik.

Bol, Peter C. 2004. Die Geschichte der antiken Bildhauerkunst, Vol. 2. pp. 386ff., pl. 351, Mainz: Verlag Philipp von Zabern.

Picón, Carlos A. 2007. Art of the Classical World in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Greece, Cyprus, Etruria, Rome. no. 209, pp. 182, 446, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Zanker, Paul. 2016. Roman Portraits: Sculptures in Stone and Bronze in the Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. no. 5, pp. 25–27, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Roman Empire (5,624)