Life-size Marble Portrait of an Athlete

Culture: Roman
Period: Late 1st to early 2nd century A.D.
Material: Marble
Dimensions: 31.8 cm high
Price: Sold
Ref: 3433
Provenance: From the estate of the New York art dealer Edward H. Merrin, acquired 1985 from Sotheby's New York. Prior according to a written statement of his son Samuel Merrin in a private collection in New York.
Condition: Lips and chin slightly worn, nose at the front part restored. With a beautiful old patina. Overall, excellently preserved.
Description: Important, life-size, and exceedingly realistic portrait of a man with thick, curly hair. The angular, attractive face with a prominent chin and strong features. The almond-shaped eyes, lost in thoughts, are looking out from thick lids. The mouth with its full lips is closed, the nose is pointy with signs of nasolabial grooves on the sides. The frowning expression underlines the slightly melancholic expression. The portrait is completely sculptural, the round back of the head merges to a strong neck and nape, suggesting that this is an athlete, possibly the winner of an important competition. The dense, finely worked curls give the head even more volume and strength. They are slightly protruding on the sides and cover the front part of the ears. A round swirl of hair at the back of the head, from which the strands spread over the head. The hairstyle and head shape are reminiscent of the portraits of Titus Caesernius Statianus, a senator and friend of Emperor Hadrian. The dating of this outstanding portrait is therefore to be placed around the turn of the first century. Compare for the dating also the head of a youth with a similar hairstyle in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna with inventory number I 1768. Mounted.