About this object

Portrait of an old man restored on modern bust. The head was originally looking straight or slightly turned to the left similarly to the way it has been restored on the modern bust. The upper part of the head has an oval shape, interrupted by the deep temporal fossae and the long wrinkles running across the forehead. This is a veristic portrait of an old man as suggested by the wrinkled leathered skin, the loose skin of the neck and the small rolls of fat at the nape of the neck. The treatment of the upper part of the head, the shape of eyes and the thick upper and lower lids and the deep fossae indicate a late Augustan-early Claudian date. The modelling of the skin and the treatment of the age are inspired by earlier republican traditions than the Augustan style.

Restorations to the face are particularly noticeable on the eyebrows, chin, upper lip and nose, and impact marks are visible on the cheeks. The surface is highly porous and blurred, suggesting it may have been treated with chemicals. Some reworking has taken place around the eyes and the closely packed very sharply incised lines suggest that the hair is modern. The compressed shape of the modern bust and the way the head is joined to the bust, the modern patch of the chin on the head are similar to the restoration found in 59.148.139, the colossal head of Vespasio. This type of restoration is associated with the restorer Giovanni Volpato.

Object specifics

  • Type
  • Culture
    Roman Imperial
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Europe: Southern Europe: Italy: Rome
  • Date made
    30 BC - 1 BC Late Augustan; Early Claudian
  • Materials
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    Gift of Col. Joseph W Weld, 1959
  • Collector
    Henry Blundell
  • Place collected
    Europe: Southern Europe: Italy: Rome
  • Date collected
  • Measurements
    550 mm x 330 mm x 380 mm x 30 kg
  • Note
    Found near Naples. Brought to Rome with 59.148.152 and bought by Blundell from the dealer Giovanni Volpato. Blundell identified the bust as one of Cicero very much following the traditions of 17th and 18th century.
  • Related people
    Henry Blundell ( Collector, previous owner); Giovanni Volpato ( Previous owner); Joseph William Weld ( Previous owner)

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Previous owners

  • Giovanni Volpato

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: Unknown or unrecorded
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
  • Joseph William 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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