Roman Mosaic Panel of an Athlete

Roman · ca. 2nd century A.D.


Glass Paste

Stone tesserae


L: 68 cm

H: 70 cm




CHF 180'000

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This mosaic is remarkable for its precision, its rich and varied colors and its excellent state of preservation. Yellow and black meanders and a frieze of interlacing red and blue lines frame the central panel, which is adorned with a male bust on a light blue ground. The position of this man is peculiar, since he is seen from the back at a three quarter angle. At the same time, he turns his head back and to the right, as if to find the viewer. The man is bearded and his hair is short. His left shoulder is covered with thick drapery.

No other attribute allow us to identify this figure: he could be an athlete (a boxer with a crushed nose and wrinkled forehead because of the fights?) or a philosopher, or perhaps a playwright.


Fragmentary, but the image is in an excellent state of preservation, with most original tessarae remaining.


Art market, prior to the early 1960s;

Ex- Asfar & Sarkis, early 1960’s.



  • Phoenix Ancient Art n.1, 2005, n. 37.


  • DUNBABIN K.M.D., Mosaics of the Greek and Roman World, Cambridge, 1999, p. 217.
  • LING R., Ancient Mosaics, London, 1998.

For examples of similar sized mosaic framing a larger central panel, see :

  • CIMOK F.(ed.), Antioch Mosaics, Istanbul, 1999, p. 38-39, n. 21.