Roman Marble Bust of a Commander

Roman · late 1st century A.D.




H: 40 cm (15.7 in)





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This Roman man is most impressive for the appearance of sculptural richness, which characterizes the portraiture of the Flavian period. The man’s shoulders are wrapped in a cloak, paludamentum, fastened by a circular clasp, fibula, at his right side. The incisions are probably reflecting the decoration of an originally enameled bronze or gold disk. The cloak with fibula often seen on the portraits of emperors was also worn by Roman military commanders. It well could be that the portraited person was an important Roman of high military rank. One can not miss the expression of self-assurance and dignity that accompany the prominently carved features and carefully arranged curly hair, which was all appropriate for the portraits of the emperors and court members.




No modern restorations; complete except for the missing nape carved separately; the latter was originally attached with the help of three irons pins, still in place and corroded; surface weathered, some encrustation and root marks; a few fractures, on top of the head, another crossing the right cheek and ear; a small dent on the left cheek; a chip on the left ear; a piece of cloak and base at the lower front was reattached.


Art market, prior to 1976;

Plaza Art Galleries, Inc., New York, 18 March 1976, lot 315;

Ex- Piero Tozzi Gallery, New York, acquired on 19 April 1976;

Sotheby’s, New York, 12-15 January 1991, lot 48;

Ex- private collection.


Plaza Art Galleries, Inc., New York, 18 March 1976, lot 315;
Sotheby’s, New York, 12-15 January 1991, lot 48.