Portrait of Commodus as a boy
Marble.
172—173 CE.
Height 45 cm.
Inv. No. 2007.84.1.New Haven, Yale University Art Gallery

Portrait of Commodus as a boy.

Marble.
172—173 CE.
Height 45 cm.
Inv. No. 2007.84.1.

New Haven, Yale University Art Gallery.

Oxford, Ashmolean Museum.
Origin:
PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION
Provenance
Christie’s London, The Arundel Marbles and other Sculpture from Fawley Court and Hall Barn, 10 December 1985, lot 259.

Exhibited
On loan to the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, 1973—1985.

Christie’s Fine Art Auction House, London, King Street. Sale 7183 Lot 40, 18 October 2005.
Estimate: £50,000 — £70,000 ($87,450 — $122,430). Price Realized: £105,600 ($184,694) (price includes buyer’s premium).
Description:
A ROMAN MARBLE PORTRAIT BUST OF AN ANTONINE PRINCE
CIRCA 160—170 A.D.
Probably Annius Verus or his older brother Commodus, with short cropped curling hair, the eyes with articulated pupils, draped in a tunic and wearing a paludamentum, fastened on the right shoulder with a circular brooch, on later socled mount
17¾ in. (45 cm.) high

Lot Notes

PUBLISHED:
J. Toynbee, “A Bust of an Antonine Boy”, Journal of Roman Studies, 49, 1959, pp. 39—40, pls. 1—3; and C. A. Picón, Bartolomeo Cavaceppi: Eighteenth-Century Restorations of Ancient Marble Sculpture from English Private Collections, London, 1983, footnote to no. 12.

Toynbee, op. cit. argues that, although this bust is remarkably similar to the bust of Commodus in the Sala degli Imperatori in the Capitoline Museum, Rome, the lack of hooked nose suggests that the child could represent his younger brother Annius Verus (162/163—169 A.D.), perhaps executed shortly before his death, given the fact that some ancient portraitists tended to make their child-subjects look older than their years.

Toynbee concludes: “That the boy is an imperial prince seems to be certain in view of the fact that he wears the paludamentum; and the only imperial child of this youthful age who could have been portrayed in this technique and style is either Commodus or Annius Verus”.

Credits:
© 2005. Photo, text: Christie’s Fine Art Auction House (Sale 7183 Lot 106).
Keywords: απεικόνιση portrait portraiture ritratto ritrattistica porträtmalerei porträt of a man male maschile uomo männliches mann masculin un homme porträtbüste roman romana römisches romain αυτοκρατορικό imperial imperiale kaiserliches impérial antonine dynasty adoptive emperors dinastia degli antonini imperatori adottivi d’adozione antoninische dynastie adoptivkaiser antonins ρωμαίος αυτοκράτορας imperator commodus emperor imperatore romano commodo römischer kaiser empereur commode γλυπτική sculptura sculpture sculptural scultura skulptur ρωμαϊκό romani römisch römische römischen romaine romains romaines προτομή bust busto büste buste marble marmo marmor marbre μάρμαρο youth young giovane junge adolescent νεαρός puer boy bambino ragazzino knabe garçon αγόρι παιδί fibula fastener clasp brooch fibbia spilla fibel schließe fibule jung jeune νέοι inv no 2007.84.1