This portrait of a Roman man is most impressive for the appearance of sculptural richness which characterizes the Roman portraiture of the Flavian period, and notably the time of the emperor Titus (79-81 A.D.) and his younger brother and successor Domitian (81-96 A.D.). The man’s shoulders are wrapped in a cloak,  paludamentum,  fastened by a circular clasp,  fibula , at the right side. The marble  fibula  is incised with lines which are radiating from a small circle, 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 were all appropriate for the portarits of the emperors and court members.    The realistic rendering of his individual traits is quite remarkable. The large, life-size head represents a man who is no longer young as many deep forrows crossing his forehead and face specify; however, the full shapes and determined look would indicate him as a healthy and energetic person. His face has a pronounced dimpled chin, pressed lips flanked by deep folds, knobby nose, small and closely-set eyes under the heavy lids, a wart next to his right eye, a knitted and furrow brow and the ears positioned differently - the right one is seen protruding while the left is pressed. This natural asymmetry brings liveliness to the face; the man’s straightforward and demanding gaze attracts the viewer.  The thick eyebrows are detailed by incision lines, same is characteristic for the hair locks with additional drilling (also drilled are the eyes’ inner canti). The short hair is brushed forward from the top of the head, the strands above the forehead and temples are much longer creating a crown of curly locks; such a male hair style is characteristic for the late Flavian period and found in the portraits of both the emperors Titus and Domitian, even surpassing them in sculptural plasticity.    Another unique quality of this portrait is the original bust’s shape which is not often entirely preserved among ancient portraits. It was designed as a head with partially shaped shoulders and chest set on a low circular base. The composition of the head and the bust are slightly asymmetrical: the axis is shifted off the base’s center, and the base looks small in relation to the upper portion. Yet, the head is turned to its right thus balancing the masses of stone on the sides. Another interesting feature is revealed in the modeling of the bust’s back: the curving lines of the cloak’s folds continuing from the front over the left shoulder, as well as the groove of the upper edge of the base, are left unfinished behind leaving the entire surface of the back flat and roughly chiseled. This shows that the bust was made to be installed against the wall, most probably inside a niche, judging by the very low socle. The nape is also flat; however, the toolmarks indicate that this area was once developed: the unavailable part from the original block of marble was carved separately and attached to the surface by inserted iron pins (piecing was a regular practice in the Greek and Roman technique of stone carving). Considering the profile of the back side, one can assume that the bust would have been installed in a concave, shell-shaped niche. Such kinds of niches are known being set into the wall between relief panels with garlands and pilasters in important Roman monumental structures dedicated to private worship of family ancestors.    CONDITION  Complete except for the separately carved nape which is missing; the latter was originally attached with the help of three irons pins, still in place and corroded. Surface is weathered and has 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 the cloak and base at the lower front was broken and mended.    PROVENANCE  Ex- Plaza Art Galleries, Inc., New York, prior 1976;  Ex- Piero Tozzi Gallery, New York, acquired in 1976.    PUBLISHED  Sotheby's, New York, European Works of Art, January 12th-15th, 1991, no. 48, illus.    BIBLIOGRAPHY  On Flavian Period portraits, see:  COMSTOCK M.B., VERMEULE C.C.,  Sculpture in Stone, The Greek, Roman and Etruscan Collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston,  Boston, 1976, pp. 216-218, nos. 344-346.  JOHANSEN F.,  Catalogue Roman Portraits II, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek , Copenhague, 1995, pp. 88-91, nos. 31-32.  KERSAUSON K. de,  Musée du Louvre ,  Catalogue des portraits romains: Tome II, De l’année de la guerre civile (68-69 après J.-C.) à la fin de l’Empire , Paris, 1996, pp. 62-65, nos. 22-23.
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