A ROMAN MARBLE CUIRASSED STATUE
A ROMAN MARBLE CUIRASSED STATUE

CIRCA 1ST CENTURY A.D.

Details
A ROMAN MARBLE CUIRASSED STATUE
CIRCA 1ST CENTURY A.D.
Possibly depicting an emperor, lifesized, his layered attire including, innermost, a wool tunic, visible on his thighs and sleeves, over which is worn a leather garment with long straps protecting his groin and shoulders, each strap with tasseled ends, and outermost, a metal cuirass with naturalistically-modelled musculature, consisting of a breastplate and backplate, the sections joined by shoulder straps secured by a bow on each breast, the cuirass flaring along the lower edge where it delineates the lower abdomen and hips, an intermediary band below from which descends a double row of hinged tongue-shaped pteryges, a paludamentum draped over his left shoulder and around his left arm, hanging in a thick mass below, holding a sword in his left hand, the sheathed blade angled up under his arm, the upper portion of his greaves preserved at the knees
36 in. (91.4 cm.) high
Provenance
European Private Collection.
Austrian Private Collection, acquired 1992.

Lot Essay

The statue type has been examined by Vermeule ("Hellenistic and Roman Cuirassed Statues," Berytus XIII, 1959, and Hellenistic and Roman Cuirassed Statues, Boston, 1980), who informs (op. cit., 1959, p. 5) that "Hellenistic cuirassed statues are few and bear close relationship to armour worn in the field by Alexander the Great and his successors. . . .In the Augustan period there is a return in official statues to more elaborate versions of a type of armour found in fourth century B.C. grave stelai. Both breastplate enrichment in imitation of metal and shape and number of pteryges (or tabs) become more complex from the Julio-Claudian through the Flavian periods." Unlike the present example, the majority of Roman statues bear cuirasses with elaborate imagery in relief. For a related plain cuirass see the "Flavian general" in the J. Paul Getty Museum, no. 38 in Vermeule, op. cit., 1980.
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