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A ROMAN MARBLE PORTRAIT BUST OF THE EMPEROR SEPTIMIUS SEVERUS
PROPERTY ACQUIRED BY MARTIN ARMSTRONG FOR PRINCETON ECONOMICS
A ROMAN MARBLE PORTRAIT BUST OF THE EMPEROR SEPTIMIUS SEVERUS

CIRCA LATE 2ND-EARLY 3RD CENTURY A.D.

Details
A ROMAN MARBLE PORTRAIT BUST OF THE EMPEROR SEPTIMIUS SEVERUS
CIRCA LATE 2ND-EARLY 3RD CENTURY A.D.
Lifesized, with his head turned slightly to his right, the almond-shaped eyes with the pupils articulated, drilled at the inner canthi, gazing to his right, his thick trimmed moustache exposing his plump lips, with a full untamed wavy beard formed of deep drillwork, forked below the chin; the hair, upper forehead, part of the beard, neck and tip of the nose all 18th-19th century Italian restorations
15 in. (38.1 cm.) high
Provenance
Del Drago Collection, Rome.
with Pietro Tozzi Galleries, New York.
Anonymous sale; Sotheby's, New York, 8 December 1995, lot 112.
Literature
A.M. McMann, The Portraits of Septimius Severus, Rome, 1968, p. 156, pl. LVI.
D. Soechting, Die Porträts des Septimius Severus, Bonn, 1972, p. 195.
Arachne database no. 36102.

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Lot Essay

Septimius Severus (reign 193-211) was about forty-eight or forty-nine years old when he became emperor and was described as "physically small but strong," with a long beard and curly white hair (Scriptores Historiae Augustae, Severus, 76.16.I.). This portrait is of the so-called Serapis-Severus type, which was adopted circa 200 A.D. to show the Emperor's association with the Egyptian god. According to Kleiner (Roman Sculpture, p. 320), "Severus was associated with the African god Serapis. Serapis was both a personal symbol of Severus's origins and a general symbol of death and renewal, which reflected the demise of civil war and the rise of a new dynasty and a new golden age." For a similar portrait of the Serapis-Severus type see no. 283 in Kleiner, Roman Sculpture.

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