The head is turned toward the left. This is a replica of a portrait type which Gross calls the “Opferbildtypus”, after a scene on Trajan’s Column where the emperor makes his appearance in this type. On account of the acanthus leaf that frames the bust at the bottom, it is plausible to assert that the portrait is posthumous. On the left shoulder, Trajan bears the shield of Zeus, for which Medusa’s head serves to hold the two sections of the scale-covered sovereign’s symbol together.
Bust. White, coarse-grained marble with weathered surface.
H. 0.61 m.
The nose and ears are damaged. The right shoulder has been struck off. Within the acanthus leaves at the foot of the bust, a square indentation has been carved. Above this hole there is a roughly cut surface — all of which indicates that the central leaf has been separately carved out and mounted on to the bust.
Acquired in 1899 from Italy, through Arndt’s mediation. Allegedly discovered in Formiae.
F. Poulsen 1951, Cat. 671; W. H. Gross, Bildnisse Traians, 106, 108, 113, 132, no. 68, pl. 32a; V. Poulsen 1974, Cat. 37; M. Bergmann, Gnomon 53 (1981) 180; Fittschen-Zanker I, no. 44, replik 1;