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Roman Bronze Portrait (Priest?)

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: Roman, Ro-Imperial
: Middle of the 3rd Century
: Bronze
: Height: 33 cm

Swiss art market, acquired in 2001


reference 15766

The head, with its rounded neck, would probably have been inserted into a bust or a statue. The man has a strong and aquiline nose. His half moon-shaped eyes have a calm, intense expression.

His flat coiffure, with locks resembling fine plumage, is divided in three parts on the forehead. On the back of the head, the hair is untidy. The eyebrows are incised in the shape of chevrons. The man wears a headband, thinner on the back of the head and fastened by “a Heracles knot”. Fine stripes may suggest that the head had been prepared for applied gilding. Two holes in the skull indicate that another ornament was attached to the sculpture. Antique repairs can be seen on the left ear and on the neck. The style of this head, rather rough in its workmanship, is difficult to specify. It can most probably be dated to the middle of the 3rd century A.D. As for the identity of the figure, one thinks of a priest because of his particular headband.


INAN J.-ROSENBAUM E., Roman and early Byzantine Portrait, Sculpture in Asia Minor, London, 1966, n. 252, pl. 139; n. 291, pl. 165 and n. 292 (for the pictures of the head, see n. 292).

INAN J.-ROSENBAUM E., Römische und frühbyzantinische Porträtplastik aus der Türkei, Neue Funde, Mainz on Rhine, 1979, pl. 189).

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