Marble bust of a bearded man

Period: Mid-Imperial, Antonine

Date: ca. A.D. 150–175

Culture: Roman

Medium: Marble

Dimensions: H. 22 in. (55.9 cm)

Classification: Stone Sculpture

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1998

Accession Number: 1998.209


This bust of a vigorous middle-aged man with sharply turned head and piercing gaze is a splendid example of psychological portraiture and conveys an impression of intense concentration. Like numerous portraits of the mid-second century A.D., this work shares many features with the type of portrait used to represent philosophers throughout antiquity. It is unlikely, however, that the man shown here followed that profession. The bust was designed to be seen strictly from the front. The top and back of the head, the rear of the neck, and the reverse of the breast are only roughly blocked out. Since the back of the bust has not been hollowed out to provide for a supporting pillar and base, it is likely that the portrait was inserted into a marble tondo and displayed rather high on a wall.