Roman Colossal Marble Statue of a Hero or an Emperor
Culture: Roman, Ro-Imperial
Period: Early 1st century A.D., Julio Claudian Period
Dimensions: Height: ca.137cm
Ex-Vincent and Mary Price collection, USA.
Fragmentary, with very nice and preserved original surface and patina.
Only the legs of this extraordinary statue, partially draped with an ample and elaborate garment (himation), remain. It represents a standing adult man, larger than life. The right leg supports the weight of the body, while the left one steps slightly back. This is a high-quality work, as much for its stylistic strength as for its elaborate structure: it is composed of several elements held together by iron tenons, whose remains are visible in the marble.
The bust had to be inserted into the large semicircular cavity carved above the legs. It is no longer possible to recognize the represented figure, but the size of the sculpture indicates that he was an important personage of the Roman Imperial period. As a statue of Claudius proves, this heroic nudity position could be used for images of members of the Imperial family, or of the emperor himself.
For related examples showing the emperor Claudius in the guise of Jupiter see:
KLEINER, “Roman sculture”, pp. 132-133, figs. 106-107.