A Roman marble portrait bust of Gaius Caesar
Lot 236* W
A Roman marble portrait bust of Gaius Caesar
Sold for £374,500 (US$ 611,961) inc. premium

Lot Details
A Roman marble portrait bust of Gaius Caesar A Roman marble portrait bust of Gaius Caesar A Roman marble portrait bust of Gaius Caesar A Roman marble portrait bust of Gaius Caesar
A Roman marble portrait bust of Gaius Caesar
Augustan, circa A.D. 1-4
Depicted with the head turned to his right, with finely carved wavy hair falling over the forehead, long sideburns and a short beard, with large eyes beneath a smooth straight browline, the full lips slightly parted, with 18th-19th Century Italian restorations, 18in (46cm) high, 25in (63.5cm) overall height, mounted on an 18th-19th Century socle

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    American private collection.
    Michael Mitchell Collection, Los Angeles, 1990s.
    Los Angeles art market.

    Literature:
    Gaius Caesar (20 B.C.-A.D. 4) and his brother Lucius Caesar (17 B.C.-A.D. 2) were the sons of the Emperor Augustus' only child Julia and his close confidant Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa. With no sons of his own, the Emperor adopted them in 17 B.C. and they were intended as Augustus' successors. However both died young, predeceasing Augustus who died in A.D. 14.

    Gaius Caesar died aged twenty-three in A.D. 4 and during his short life Gaius and his younger brother 'played extremely important roles in Augustus' political and dynastic plans'. (J. Pollini, The Portraiture of Gaius and Lucius Caesar, New York, 1987, p. 2). Official images of Augustus's grandsons were produced from their childhood and 'these were deliberately calculated to depict the princes as miniature versions of their illustrious grandfather.' (D. Kleiner, Roman Sculpture, New Haven and London, 1992, p. 72.) For example, a marble portrait group of Gaius and Lucius with their grandfather the Emperor was set up in the Julian Basilica in Corinth and the intended resemblance is clear. As a result of this, there has been much discussion concerning the identification and iconography of Augustan and Julio-Claudian Imperial portraiture.

    Portraits of Gaius have been divided into five types and Type 5 of which this lot is an example, is the most controversial. Some portraits have been identified as an early type for Octavian/Augustus, with the beard explained as a 'beard of mourning' at the death of Caesar. However John Pollini has made a convincing case for this type representing Gaius Caesar and not his grandfather. J. Pollini, The Portraiture of Gaius and Lucius Caesar, New York, 1987, pp. 59ff.

    The closest examples to this lot are the head in Arles, Musée Lapidaire Païen, inv. 51.1.22 (op.cit. pl.31; cat. 30); and the head in Verona, Museo Archeologico, (op.cit. pl.32; cat. 31). Both heads demonstrate similar sideburns and hair, with the Verona head also depicted with a similar short beard. Pollini argues that the sideburns and beard are indicative of a military connection and an associaion with Ares/Mars. Both Germanicus and Drusus Minor, well-known for their military prowess, were depicted with beards and thus it is suggested that this portrait type was created to honour Gaius' military achievements. Pollini posits that this was possibly in the Arabian war of A.D. 1, or to commemorate Gaius' salutation as Imperator in A.D. 3 after the fall of Artagira in Armenia, where he suffered the wound which was to eventually kill him the following year. (op.cit. p. 72 ff.)
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories excluding Wine, Coins & Medals and Motor Cars and Motorcycles:

Buyer's Premium Rates
25% on the first £50,000 of the Hammer Price
20% from £50,001 to £1,000,000 the Hammer Price
12% from £1,000,001 of the Hammer Price

VAT at the current rate of 20% will be added to the Buyer's Premium and charges excluding Artists Resale Right.

Payment Notices

Payment in advance: by cash, check with banker's card, credit card, bank draft or traveler's cheque.

Payment at collection: by credit or debit card.

Credit card charges: a surcharge of 2% is applicable when using Mastercard, Visa and overseas debit cards.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licenses please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

Lot symbols
* Import low rate

VAT on imported items at a preferential rate of 5% on Hammer Price and the prevailing rate on Buyer's Premium.

W Shipping & handling restrictions apply

Objects displayed with a w will be located in the Bonhams Warehouse and will only be available for collection from this location.

Contacts
  1. Madeleine Perridge
    Specialist - Antiquities
    Bonhams
    Work
    101 New Bond Street
    London, United Kingdom W1S 1SR
    Work +44 20 7468 8226
    FaxFax: +44 20 7468 8283
Similar Items