Head of the emperor Augustus
25—1 BCE.
39 × 21 × 24 cm.
Inv. No. 78.AA.261.Los Angeles, John Paul Getty Museum, Getty Villa in Malibu

Head of the emperor Augustus.

25—1 BCE.
39 × 21 × 24 cm.
Inv. No. 78.AA.261.

Los Angeles, John Paul Getty Museum, Getty Villa in Malibu.

by 1938 — still in 1940 — Private Collection (Norway);
by 1941—1974 — Charles Nilsson (Stockholm, Sweden) [sold, European, Classical, Byzantine, Western Asiatic and Egyptian Antiquities and Ancient Jewellery, Christie’s, London, July 10-11, 1974, lot 203 to Naylor Leyland];
1974 — Naylor-Leyland Family, British (Nantclwyd Hall, Llanelidan, Denbighshire, Wales);
— 1978 — Antiken Heinz Herzer (Munich, Germany), sold jointly to the Antikenmuseum und Sammlung Ludwig and the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1978;
— 1991 — Antikenmuseum Basel und Sammlung Ludwig (Basel, Switzerland) and J. Paul Getty Museum, full ownership transferred to the J. Paul Getty Museum by exchange, 1991.
After many years of civil war, Augustus took complete power in Rome in 27 B.C. He claimed that he was re-establishing the Roman Republic, but he actually founded the Roman Empire. Visual signs emphasizing its power and legitimacy bolstered this new political order.

Portraits of Augustus served as symbols of his political agenda rather than corresponding to his physical features as described in written sources. Augustus is always shown in an ideal, classicizing style, and he never ages over the length of his reign. One constant feature of Augustus’s portraits is his hairstyle, with its distinctive forked locks of hair on his forehead.

2011. Photo, text: The J. Paul Getty Museum.
2011. Photographer: Rebecca Truszkowski.
Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.
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 ρωμαίος αυτοκράτορας οκταβιανός αύγουστος imperator octavianus augustus emperor octavian august imperatore ottaviano augusto kaiser empereur octave octavien auguste ιουλιο-κλαυδιανή δυναστεία iulio-claudia iulii-claudii julii-claudii the julio-claudian dynasty dinastia giulio-claudia julisch-claudische dynastie famille julio-claudienne julio-claudiens απεικόνιση portrait portraiture ritratto ritrattistica porträtmalerei porträt κεφάλι κεφαλή head testa kopf tête of a man male maschile uomo männliches mann masculin un homme portraitkopf marble marmo marmor marbre μάρμαρο pietrabbondante inv no 78.aa.261