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Home > Auctions > 30th November 2021 > Roman Sandstone Bust of a Philosopher

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LOT 0086

GBP (£) 8,000 - 10,000
EUR (€) 9,400 - 11,750
USD ($) 10,630 - 13,280

Sold for (Inc. bp): £8,890

Roman Sandstone Bust of a Philosopher

1st-2nd century AD

An over life-size composition head of a frowning elderly male with a thick beard; broad facial features with large nose, sunken eyes beneath prominent eyebrow arches, mouth slightly open and surrounded by thick moustache, the long beard made up of curly tufts; the curly hair covered with a hat or a cap formed of knotted bands (strophion) with voluminous strands falling over the ears to the back of the neck; the smoothed part of the herm, hidden by the hairs of the beard directed towards the centre of the head, creating a chiaroscuro effect; mounted on a custom-made display stand. 36.5 kg, 52cm including stand (20 1/2"). Fair condition, with restorations.

From an important English collection; accompanied by an academic report by Dr Laura Maria Vigna; this lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by AIAD certificate number no.10748-177458.

See Becatti, G., s. v., Pitagora, in Enciclopedia dell’Arte Antica Classica e Orientale, vol. VI, Roma, 1965, pp. 197-199; Picozzi, M.G.,‘I ritratti dal mare della Meloria al Museo Archeologico di Firenze: fusioni in bronzo da marmi romani,’ in Rivista dell’Istituto Nazionale di Archeologia e Storia dell’Arte, s. III, XVIII, 1995, pp.118-120; Di Cesare, R., ‘Ritratti di intellettuali tra mondo greco e romano,’ in La Rocca, E., Parisi Presicce, C., Lo Monaco, A., Ritratti. Le tante facce del potere, Roma Musei Capitolini 10 marzo- 25 settembre 2011, Roma, 2011, pp. 93-107; Mastronuzzi, G., ‘Immagini di poeti e filosofi della Magna Grecia,’ in Quaderni di “Atene e Roma”, Pubblicazione dell’Associazione Italiana di Cultura Classica, 5; Capasso, M., Cinque incontri sulla Cultura Classica, Lecce, 2015, pp.55-70.

The hair and the untidy beard reproduce the typical image of a philosopher/ writer as conceived in the Greek and Roman world, although the head portrayed is difficult to identify; it possibly represents Pythagoras, Homer or Sophocles. The probable bronze archetypes for this sculpture are the works of great Greek sculptors dating from the 5th-3rd century BC, which are found replicated in marble and bronze in the form of house furnishings.