Marble Head of one of Niobe’s Son

Culture: Roman
Period: 2nd century A.D.
Material: Marble
Dimensions: 25 cm high
Price: Sold
Ref: 3332
Provenance: Collection Mayer, Zürich in the 1970s. Auctioned at Cahn auctions Basel on 23 September 2005, lot 162. Thence with Royal Athena Galleries, New York, published in: “Art of the Ancient World“, 2006, no. 20. Thence in the Musée d’Art Classique de Mougins, France, where it was exhibited from June 2011 to summer 2018. Last on the English art market.
Condition: The nose professionally restored, a small restoration on the right lower lip. Otherwise in an excellent condition.
Description: Life-size head of a young man with female features. The eyes between finely drawn lids, the mouth slightly open, the head slightly tilted to the right. The wavy hair cascades over his temples sideways and frames his face. This head was for a long time identified as Niobe herself, the grieving mother, whose seven sons and seven daughters were killed by Apollo and Artemis. Niobe, boasting about the abundance of her children, put herself above Titan Leto, who in return sent her children Apollo and Artemis for revenge. Recently a detailed attribution of the high-quality head from a Greek original of the 4th to 2nd century B.C. succeeded. Accordingly the present head depicts one of Niobe’s son, a Niobid – as he is hit by an arrow and breaking down in pain and in grieving gesture. See for a parallel the fragment from the Vatican Museum, acc. No. 567, published in: M. Bieber „Ancient Copies. Contributions to the history of the Greek and Roman Art“, New York, 1977, fig. 60. The head itself is published in: M. Merrony (Publ.), “Mougins Museum of Classical Art“, Mougins, 2011, p. 102, fig. 57. Mounted.