Portrait of Septimius Severus


About this object

Portrait of Septimius Severus restored on a modern bust.
The head is slightly over life-size and derives from the most common type of the Septimius portrait, the ‘Serapis type’ known from 70 copies of it and with the following characteristics: four corkscrew locks on the forehead, the S type hairline from the temple to the ear and the long bi-parted beard. The head turns to the right with the statue’s gaze, also to the right, a common feature of this type of portrait of the Emperor. The hair on the back is imprecisely rendered, in large, clumsy locks, although greater detail is demonstrated in the front of the hair, the beard and the moustache. The nose, rim of ear, patch on left eyebrow and end of the locks in the beard have been restored. The bust, which appears modern, is unrestored and has been attributed to the workshop of Bartolomeo Cavaceppi.

Object specifics

  • Type
  • Culture
    Roman Imperial
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Europe: Southern Europe: Italy: Rome
  • Date made
    195 AD - 211 AD about
  • Materials
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    Gift of Col. Joseph W Weld, 1959
  • Collector
    Henry Blundell
  • Place collected
  • Date collected
  • Measurements
    720 mm; 28 3/8 in
  • Note
    Recorded in 1614 in the Villa Mattei as 'Septimius Severus with marble bust'. Displayed in the Garden Temple. Jane Fejfer proposed that the Ince portait of is much close stylistically to similar portraits of the Emperor in the Vienna Kunsthistorisches museum and in Rome in Villa Doria Pamphilj because of the plastic rendering of the locks, the deep drilled and unmodelled locks. Fejfer proposed an early date for this type of portrait from 196/197 AD, instead of the date of 200 AD proposed by the scholars Soechting and Fittschen who thought that the portrait may have been provoked by Septimus Severus visit to Egypt in 199/200 AD.
  • Related people
    Henry Blundell ( Collector, previous owner); Ciriaco Mattei ( Previous owner); Septimius Severus ( Portrait); Joseph William Weld ( Previous owner)

Explore related


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Previous owners

  • Ciriaco Mattei

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1614
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
  • Joseph William Col Sir Weld

    Owned from: 1958
    How acquired: By descent
    Owned until: 1959
    Disposal method: Donation
  • Henry Blundell

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Purchased
    Owned until: 1810
    Disposal method: Bequest
Object view = Humanities
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