About this object

Portrait bust of a man. The head is unbroken from the bust.
The turn of the head to the right and slightly upwards creates a distant yet serious expression for its subject. The front hair falls onto the forehead in well-defined, crispy locks – of which three are prominent. The moustache and beard hair is almost straight on the chin, but is arranged in short curly locks on the cheeks. The face does not show much individuality and has a small mouth and thin lips, the eyes are lying deeply and the areas formed by the forehead and the cheeks are flat. Jane Fjefer noted that the crispy locks at the front of the hair, the plasticity and the contrast with the back of the hair dated the portrait to Hadrianic times. The face also resembles portraits of Hadrian while the shape of the bust with the wide lower termination which includes the breast, the fully executed shoulders, and the short arms suggests late Trajanic/early Hadrianic period. The bust is deeply hollowed out on the back, following the countour of the body and the support of the bust is light and elegant. The naked bust represents according to Fejfer a tradition that goes back to the Hellenistic times, giving the portrait a heroic or divine quality. This kind of bust became popular from the early Julio-Claudian dynasty up until the 3rd century AD. Together with the balteus/paluntamentum type of bust the naked bust also became popular with certain individuals from the Flavian to the Hadrianic, early Antonine period. The nose, ears, and a patch of hair on the right hand side of the head have been noticeably restored, and there are small impact holes on the face.

Object specifics

  • Type
  • Culture
    Roman Imperial
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Europe: Southern Europe: Italy: Rome
  • Date made
    125 AD - 140 AD about
  • Materials
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    Gift of Col. Joseph W Weld, 1959
  • Collector
    Henry Blundell
  • Place collected
    Europe: Southern Europe: Italy: Lazio: Lake Albano
  • Date collected
  • Measurements
    695 mm x 480 mm x 250 mm x 42 kg
  • Note
    Displayed at Ince Hall in the Pantheon. Blundell identified this as a portrait of the Emperor Antoninus Pius.
  • Related people
    Henry Blundell ( Collector, previous owner); Joseph William Weld ( Previous owner)

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Previous owners

  • 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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