Head of a Boy card

Courtesy of National Museums Liverpool, World Museum

Head of a Boy

59.148.155
Head of a young boy, turned to the left. The front part of the bust and the fibula are also ancient. The head has a triangular shape and a wide forehead, a pointed chin with a dimple. At the back of the head the hair is arranged like a starfish in long curly locks with a central parting. On the forehead the hair is arranged in long crispy and clearly separated wet locks with a central parting. His cheeks are chubby, his eyes small and flat and his mouth short with a protruding upper lip. He wears a chamyx which is fastened onto his left with a circular fibula Claudian/Neronian period. Jane Fejfer noted that the style of the hair and the representation of the face resembled portraits of young Britannicus and his sister Claudia Octavia. The edged treatment at the back of the hair is of the Claudian era and the wet treatment at the front, a feature of Claudian/Neronian period. The portrait may have belonged to the bust especially from the beginning of the shoulder but may have also been part of another statue which worn a chlamyx. Portraits of children are often understood as grave portraits, the atrributes suggest the apotheosis of children or they are often represented ill looking. The portrait may have meant to idealise and present the deceased young boy as a hero. J. Fejfer commented that the young boy looks very healthy and cheerful and is very likely a member of the aristocracy or the high court. In Augustan time the notion of dynastic rulership prevailed and portraits of young children became very common.