A Hellenistic/Roman black marble? portrait head of an African youth
Lot 128W
A Roman dark grey marble portrait head of an African youth
Sold for £106,850 (US$ 179,595) inc. premium
Auction Details
A Hellenistic/Roman black marble? portrait head of an African youth
Lot Details
A Roman dark grey marble portrait head of an African youth
Circa 1st-2nd Century A.D.
After Hellenistic bronze prototypes, depicted with his chin tilted slightly upwards, the short curly hair finely drilled all over the head, the face carved with a broad nose, rounded cheeks and a heavy brow, the full lips slightly parted, the large eyes hollowed for inlay, 14in (36cm) high, mounted

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Property of a Private Trust.
    With David Drey, London, 1968.

    Literature:
    The head is likely to be after a type found in Hellenistic bronzes but for a slightly smaller scale dark grey marble figure of an African boy from Tunisia, also demonstrating similar tightly curled and drilled hair, the slightly open mouth and also inlaid eyes, cf. N. de Chaisemartin, Les Sculptures Romaines de Sousse et des Sites Environnants, Rome, 1987, pp. 47-9, fig. 42.

    For a related late Hellenistic dark grey marble portrait of a Nubian in the Brooklyn Museum, C.C. Vermeule, Greek and Roman Sculpture in America, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1981, no. 113. For other depictions of African male heads in stone, cf. a Roman Imperial portrait head with tightly curled hair in F. Snowden, Blacks in Antiquity, 1970, fig. 68 and also fig. 69 a Meroitic head.
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