• Antiquities  auction at Christies

    Sale 2232

    Antiquities

    11 December 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 165

    A ROMAN MARBLE PORTRAIT HEAD OF THE EMPEROR HADRIAN

    REIGN CIRCA 117-138 A.D.

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A ROMAN MARBLE PORTRAIT HEAD OF THE EMPEROR HADRIAN
    REIGN CIRCA 117-138 A.D.
    Lifesized, finely sculpted with his characteristic thick wavy hair combed forward in undulating rows, the locks detailed by incision and drillwork, with a closely-cropped beard, the mustache with a gap at the philtrum, his thin lips pressed together, the eyes unarticulated beneath heavy brows, with slight creases extending from their outer corners
    11 in. (27.9 cm.) high


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    Even though the Emperor Hadrian came to power at the age of 41 and ruled for twenty-one years, most of his portraits show him as a never-aging adult, his skin smooth and wrinkle free (see Kleiner, Roman Sculpture, p. 238). However, the large number of surviving portraits (second only to the Emperor Augustus) display an infinite variety, and some, in fact, as with the present example, show him with a somewhat fleshy face, complete with a creased forehead and slight folds at the outer corners of the eyes. See for example the bust from the villa of Herodes Atticus at Luku, discovered in 1995, fig. 171 in Opper, Hadrian, Empire and Conflict.

    Provenance

    Mr. X., Paris, acquired in the early 1970s.
    Collection d'un Amateur, Succession de M. X, Objets d'Art et de Bel Ameublement; Piasa, Paris, 28 March 2008, lot 162.


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