Marble portrait bust of the emperor Gaius, known as Caligula

Period: Early Imperial, Julio-Claudian

Date: A.D. 37–41

Culture: Roman

Medium: Marble

Dimensions: H. 20 in. (50.8 cm)
length 7 1/16 in. (18 cm)

Classification: Stone Sculpture

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1914

Accession Number: 14.37


The portrait style created for Augustus was adopted by his family and immediate successors in order to stress the unity and continuity of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. This fine bust of Caligula (r. A.D. 37– 41) has regular features and carefully designed locks of hair similar to those in portraits of Augustus. Here, however, the artist has also conveyed something of Caligula’s vanity and cruelty in the proud turn of the head and the thin, pursed lips.