Bust of Marcus Aurelius


About this object

Bust of Marcus Aurelius. Although the head was broken from the bust at the neck, head and bust belonged to each other. The slightly over life-size bust is a most impressive well-preserved image of Marcus Aurelius, showing him in military guise dressed in tunica, cuirass and a fringed paludamentum. The head is of the so-called Museo delle Terme 726 type, known as his third portrait type and thought to have been created around 161 AD to commemorate either his accession into the throne together with Lucius Verus or his common consulship in 160 AD. This type has a long, pale face with a wide forehead, curved eyebrows and protruding eyeballs, the beard is parted in the middle. The front hair forms an almost straight hairline, and the remainder of the hair forms a mass of tousled curly locks which are arranged rather flatly at the crown of the head and are widest at the temples. He also has a moustache which droops at the sides. There are signs of the Emperor's age in the nasal lines, in the grooves under the eyes and the small wrinkles at the corners of the eyes. The wringles of the forehead look hard and may have been retouched and because of extensive cleaning the iris may have been lost. with only part of it, visible in the left eye. The drill was used for the beard and in the hair around the hairline reaching around the ears. The crown of the hair is rendered by carving. making the locks look like angular masses. The nose and a patch on the upper lip are restored, along with the drapery on the bust. The fringed paludamentum is characteristic of the late Antonine period and can be found also in Ince no 199.

Object specifics

  • Type
  • Culture
    Roman Imperial
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Europe: Southern Europe: Italy: Rome
  • Date made
    160 AD - 161 AD
  • Materials
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    Gift of Col. Joseph W Weld, 1959
  • Collector
    Henry Blundell
  • Place collected
    Europe: Northern Europe: UK: England: London: Richmond upon Thames: Twickenham
  • Date collected
  • Measurements
    910 mm x 590 mm x 300 mm x 76.5 kg
  • Note
    Displayed in the Garden Temple. Jane Fejfer noted that that there were many variations of the Therme 726 type of Marcus Aurelius portrait and that its distribution was wide spread. Similar copies of this type can be found in Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen Cat 700 and in Naples in the Museo Nazionale 6092. They are similar to the Ince example in the way the drilled channels are concentrated to the front.
  • Related people
    Henry Blundell ( Collector, previous owner); Marcus Aurelius ( Associated Person); 1st Baron Mendip ( Previous owner); Joseph William Weld ( Previous owner)

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Previous owners

  • 1st Baron Mendip

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1802-05-18
    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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