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    Sale 12239

    Antiquities

    6 July 2016, London, King Street

  • Lot 45

    A ROMAN MARBLE HEAD OF A GOD

    AUGUSTAN, CIRCA 27 B.C.-14 A.D.

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A ROMAN MARBLE HEAD OF A GOD
    AUGUSTAN, CIRCA 27 B.C.-14 A.D.
    Probably Apollo, the oval face with idealized features, with large, almond-shaped eyes set beneath heavy upper lids, and full, parted lips, the god's hair set in rows of corkscrew curls above his forehead and bound with a diadem, long, spiral tresses falling onto his neck
    8 ¼ in. (20.8 cm.) high


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    The present lot combines an archaic coiffure with facial features carved in an early Classical style, demonstrating a singularly Augustan fashion for fusing two distinct stylistic phases of Greek art. The use of the Archaic Greek style in the Augustan sculptural programme was a potent public relations tool, used to signify the new regime's focus on returning Rome to the idealised past, where civic piety was believed to have been at the centre of public life. This commandeering of the Greek artistic tradition also demonstrated Rome's unrivalled hegemony in the Mediterranean. According to Zanker, 'The Archaic style thus reflects not only an aesthetic fashion, but the element of pietas in the Augustan cultural agenda. But...The Classical style retained pride of place and was acknowledged as the supreme expression of the human form. The competition between these two standards...led to the invention of novel mixtures of form and hybrid styles' (P. Zanker, The Power of Images in the Age of Augustus, Michigan, 1988, p. 244-5). See E. Simon, 'Apollon/Apollo, LIMC II, vol. 2, Zurich and Munich, 1984, p. 298 for more examples of Augustan archaising/classicising gods.

    Provenance

    with K. J. Hewett (1919-1994), London.
    Agatha Sadler (1924-2015) collection, London (The Sadler Collection; Sotheby's, London, 31 October 2003, lot 55).