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A ROMAN MARBLE HEAD OF APOLLO
THE PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE COLLECTOR
A ROMAN MARBLE HEAD OF APOLLO

CIRCA 130-150 A.D.

Details
A ROMAN MARBLE HEAD OF APOLLO
CIRCA 130-150 A.D.
Turned slightly to his right on his elegantly contoured neck, complete with two "Venus" lines, the youthful god depicted with well-modelled idealizing features, the gently-arching brows merging into his aquiline nose, his almond-shaped lidded eyes unarticulated, the inner canthi defined, his bow-shaped mouth with the full lips slightly parted, the upper row of teeth just visible, the chin rounded, his center-parted hair with deep drill work and undercutting, with luscious layered curls framing his face, two small wavy locks along the forehead, a tendril before each ear, two partially-preserved long tresses falling to his left shoulder, his hair gathered in a mass in back with a portion tied into a chignon at the nape of his neck, the crown and back of the head roughly worked, the head fashioned to be set into a composite statue
14 in. (35.6 cm.) high
Provenance
with Pierro Tozzi, New York.
with Robert Miller Gallery, New York, 1984.

Lot Essay

Sculpture during the Hadrianic and Antonine periods is characterized by an increased emphasis in drill work. Careful attention was given in particular to hair, where the running drill created deep pockets of shadow among full plastically-rendered curls, producing a rich textured mass that contrasted with smoothly polished skin.

The lack of elaborate locks on the crown of the head suggests that the sculpture was either crowned in a thick laurel wreath or that the curls were finished in a supplementary material. It is equally possible that it was placed within an architectural setting, where the top and back were not viewable.

The present example likely depicts Apollo Kitharoidos. For the style of the hair and a similar incline of the head compare two draped Roman versions, both in the Vatican Museums, nos. 484 and 487 in Bieber, Ancient Copies. For a related nude version see the example in the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, no. 67a in Simon and Bauchhenss, "Apollon/Apollo" in LIMC.
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