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A ROMAN MARBLE PORTRAIT HEAD OF A TETRARCH
A ROMAN MARBLE PORTRAIT HEAD OF A TETRARCH

CIRCA LATE 3RD CENTURY A.D.

Details
A ROMAN MARBLE PORTRAIT HEAD OF A TETRARCH
CIRCA LATE 3RD CENTURY A.D.
Perhaps Diocletian, over-lifesized, turned to his left on his strong neck, with a cropped chiseled beard and a downturned mustache, the bulging almond-shaped eyes articulated, the heavy lids covering the upper half of the pupils, with thick lower lids and deeply-drilled inner canthi, the furrowed brow with vertical creases above the bridge of the nose, the eyebrows in relief, two horizontal creases across the forehead, the thick short locks brushed forward, crowned with a massive deeply-drilled oak wreath likely once centered by a medallion
17½ in. (44.4 cm.) high
Provenance
Private Collection, Germany.
Anonymous sale; Sotheby's, New York, 8 December 2000, lot 137.

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Lot Essay

For a similar head with an oak leaf crown see no. 165, p. 224 in von Bothmer, ed., Glories of the Past, Ancient Art from the Shelby White and Leon Levy Collection. Regarding the head in the Levy collection, Anderson comments, op. cit., p. 224, "the incremental abstraction of third-century portraiture takes a penultimate step with this imposing likeness. The eyes do not betray the sitter's psychology, but, instead, stare upward vacantly. Naturalism is no longer the primary goal of the sculptor: The roughly tooled hair, uneven surface of the face, and planar volumes combine to make this a schematic depiction of a public individual, rather than a subtle characterization of the sitter's mood or disposition."

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