Portrait of Gaius Caesar or Lucius Caesar
Marble. Ca. 10 BCE.
Height 33 cm.
Rome, Sorgente Group Foundation

Portrait of Gaius Caesar or Lucius Caesar.

Marble. Ca. 10 BCE.
Height 33 cm.

Rome, Sorgente Group Foundation.

Christie’s Fine Art Auction House, London.
Private collection.
Wilhelm Horn (1870—1959); acquired from Dr Lederer, 1930.
Antiken aus rheinischem Privatbesitz, Rheinischen Landesmuseum, Bonn, 1973—1974.

Christie’s Fine Art Auction House, London, King Street. Sale 7183 Lot 40, 18 October 2005.
Estimate: £25,000 — £35,000 ($43,725 — $61,215). Price Realized: £78,000 ($136,422) (price includes buyer’s premium).


With head turned slightly to the left, short wavy hair characteristically arranged in parted locks over the forehead, the eyes with unarticulated pupils, mounted.
13 in. (33 cm.) high.

Lot Notes

K. A. Neugebauer, Antiken in Deutschem Privatbesitz, Berlin, 1938, p. 17, no. 31, pl. 16.
Antiken aus rheinischem Privatbesitz, Rheinischen Landesmuseum, Bonn, 1973—1974, pp. 214—215, no. 356, pl. 161.

This bust was acquired by the German dealer Dr Lederer in February 1930 from an art dealer in Paris for 4,525 DM.; he did so on the advice of Professor Blumel of the Altes Museum in Berlin who accompanied him at the time. Wilhelm Horn purchased the bust a few days later on Dr Lederer’s return from Paris and the identity of the portrait has been a subject of discussion ever since.

Blumel was of the opinion that it was a portrait of the young Augustus; he had had a cast made of a similar head of a young Augustus in the Vatican collection for the the Altes Museum. Professor Zahn, also of Berlin, was of the same opinion because of the great similarity to Augustus as a young man. The fact that juvenile portraits of Augustus existed was reported by the Roman author and secretary to the Emperor Hadrian, Suetonius, in his work “The Twelve Caesars”, in chapter 7 on Augustus were he refers to a bronze statuette, “... it shows him [Augustus] as a boy. I have presented the statuette to the Emperor Hadrian who has placed it among the household-gods in his bedroom”.

A letter dated 30 June 1930 from the Director of the Museé d’Art et d’Histoire in Geneva identified the portrait as Gaius or Lucius Caesar and cited a very similar portrait (acquired in Italy and from the Sarasin collection) in his own museum as a comparison (museum no. 8935, published in the Geneva Catalogue of Ancient Sculpture, 1923, no. 125, p. 92). In January 1938, Professor Kehler from Budapest visited the Horns and also pronounced it to be a portrait of Lucius, and an excellent work.

More recent opinions have tended to identify the portrait as Gaius Caesar. For a discussion of this bust and its identification with references, see Antiken aus rheinischen Privatbesitz.

Gaius Caesar (20 B.C.—4 A.D.) and Lucius Caesar (17 B.C.—2 A.D.) were the sons of Agrippa and were adopted in 17 B.C. by Augustus. They were intended as Augustus’ successors, but Lucius died at Marseilles on his way to the armies in Spain, while Gaius died in Lycia.

Keywords: γλυπτική sculptura sculpture sculptural scultura skulptur ρωμαϊκό roman romana romano romani römisch römische römisches römischen römischer romain romaine romains romaines αυτοκρατορικό imperial imperiale kaiserliches impérial ιουλιο-κλαυδιανή δυναστεία iulio-claudia iulii-claudii julii-claudii the julio-claudian dynasty dinastia giulio-claudia julisch-claudische dynastie famille julio-claudienne julio-claudiens γάιος καίσαρας caius gaius caesar vipsanianus prince g148 principe gaio cesare vipsaniano prinz απεικόνιση portrait portraiture ritratto ritrattistica porträtmalerei porträt λούκιος lucius g149 lucio κεφάλι κεφαλή head testa kopf tête προτομή bust busto büste buste of a man male maschile uomo männliches mann masculin un homme porträtbüste portraitkopf marble augustan emperor