A large Roman marble portrait head of the Emperor Trajan
Lot 133W
A large Roman marble portrait head of the Emperor Trajan
Sold for £73,250 (US$ 124,138) inc. premium
Auction Details
A large Roman marble portrait head of the Emperor Trajan A large Roman marble portrait head of the Emperor Trajan A large Roman marble portrait head of the Emperor Trajan
Lot Details
A large Roman marble portrait head of the Emperor Trajan
Circa A.D. 98-117
Over life-size, turned slightly to the right, his hair characteristically combed forward from the crown of his head over his forehead, his commanding face drawn into a frown, with arching brows over the large almond-shaped lidded eyes, the inner canthi drilled, his thin lips pressed together, 19½in (49.5 cm) high, mounted

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    English private collection.
    Christie's New York, William F. Reilly Collection, 14 Oct 2009, lot 55.
    Sotheby's New York, 12 June 2001, lot 54.
    With Ariadne Galleries, New York, USA.
    With Phoenix Ancient Art, Geneva, Switzerland.
    Swiss private collection 1990s.

    Literature:
    The Emperor Trajan (Marcus Ulpius Traianus) acceded to the Imperial throne when he was forty-five years and ruled from A.D.98 to 117. Under his rule, the Empire saw its greatest expansion through military conquests, including the provinces of Nabataea, Dacia, Armenia and Mesopotamia.

    Portraits of Trajan have been divided into several types however according to Kleiner, 'the distinctions among the types are very subtle and have to do for the most part with the arrangement of the hair over the forehead and on the nape of the neck.' D. Kleiner, Roman Sculpture, Yale, 1992, p. 208. This portrait appears to be of the type known as the 'Bürgerkronnen Typus' which is thought to date to about 103-4, certainly during the years between his accession and the tenth anniversary of his reign (Decennial). For further discussion, cf W.H. Gross, Bildnisee Trajans, Berlin, 1940, pp. 76-77.

    For a similar example in the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, inv. 2571, cf. F. Johansen, Katalog Romerske Portraetter, vol. II, Copenhagen, 1994, no. 33.

    From the colossal size of this portrait head it is likely that it came from a monumental statue of the Emperor sculpted for a public building or possibly a temple to the Deified Trajan.
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