Unrecorded Roman Artist (1st century AD)

Head of a Man

Rome, 1st century AD


31.1 x 20.3 x 22.3 cm

The development of Roman portraiture is characterised by a stylistic cycle that alternately emphasised realistic or idealising elements. This battered bust (possibly re-carved), with its lifelike wrinkles and folds of skin tempered by classical, regular features, would seem typical of portraits from the 1st century AD. It may have accompanied the ashes of the subject in a communal tomb. Such classical prototypes would be a critical influence on the art of portrait sculpture from the Renaissance onwards.

Purchased 1962 (No. 62.8)