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HOME : Classical Antiquities : Classical Masterpieces : Roman Marble Bust of a Man
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Roman Marble Bust of a Man - P.3360
Origin: Mediterranean
Circa: 100 AD to 200 AD
Dimensions: 5" (12.7cm) high x 2.75" (7.0cm) wide
Collection: Classical
Medium: Marble

Additional Information: Found in Bethany, Israel

Location: Great Britain
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Marble head sculpted in the round; head, tilted upwards and cocked left slightly; small, wide-set eyes with incised pupils gaze in left direction beneath creased brow; prominent nose with flaring nostrils and full lips; ample chin and thick neck; mounted on perspex stand. This marble head of a middle-aged Roman man was found in the small village of Bethany, just outside Jerusalem, which at this time formed a part of the Roman province of Judea. Provincial sculpture in many ways follows the imperial examples. His features typify Roman sculpture of the period and marks the breakdown in the relationship between Roman sculpture and Classical Greece, the exemplar of Classical Greek sculpture having been transmitted to Republican Rome by Hellenistic sources and representing the lingua franca among artisans thereafter until 2nd century ACE. When the Roman centres of production operated in the regions of the old Hellenistic ones, holding fast to the rationality and naturalism of traditional Greek art. A break from classic Greek ideals and beginnings of a new formal language first occured under the Antonines of 2nd century (ACE 138-193). Faces assume languishing expressions, imparted mostly, as we see here, by upturned, side-glancing eyes coupled with very thick upper eyelids. The close- cropped hair was adopted on sculpture under Caracalla (ACE 198-217). The military anarchy and economic and spiritual crisis of 3rd century ACE fueled this shift and there was a complete break from hellenic idealism. While, not naturalistic in its representation, we do see a hint of realism that typified earlier Roman art in the furrowed brow, which also, places this pieces firmly amid the torment of this deeply troubled age. The hair is rendered in short and shallow incisions made by a pointed chisel or burin. Sculpture was either commissioned by the State or private individuals. This is likely to be the latter. Prominent among these are the portraits, whether busts or statues, of private individuals, funerary sculpture including sarcophagi, and miniature statuary, both in stone and bronze. This type of sculpture was intended for private use, whether it was purely decorative, religious or even commemorative. - (P.3360)


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