Male Bust



Male portrait bust, lifesize, showing an individual with an unusually long, bony face and curly hair and beard. The man's head is slightly turned to the left. His forehead is low and is emphasised by the curly hair which is flat at the crown of the hair but has more volume at the forehead and around the temples, covering a small part of the ear. At the front of the hair the locks are in corkscrew shaped locks while the back of the hair is in a covered with shorter curly rolls of hair. The eyes are deep into the sockets under the contracted angular brows. His moustache is combed straight and almost entirely covers the upper lip but the beard is is small short locks and a small tuft of beard in between the chin and the mouth. This is most likely a private portrait which probably derived from an official portrait, firstly seen in the portrait of Aelius Caesar. Jane Fejfer observed the length of the hair and the beard, the tuft between the mouth and the chin and the moderate drill work in the beard and the front hairs, the crescent indication of the pupils as typical of portraits of Marcus Aurelius. The head is also similar to the third portrait of Marcus Aurelius, which was created around 161. Jane Fejfer dated the head accordingly. The nose is restored and there is damage to the beard. In Venuti's publicatiion of the Mattei collection the head appeared on a large naked bust with balteus and paludamentum but this bust is now used for the portrait of Hadrian from the Ince collection. It is therefore clear that the bust of this head is modern. Purchased from the Villa Mattei Collection by Henry Blundell on his first trip to Italy in 1777.