Cuirass bust of Caligula.

Marble. 37—41 CE.
Inv. No. 1453.

Copenhagen, New Carlsberg Glyptotek
(Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek)

Description:
Roman marble portrait of Caligula (reign 37-41 CE), from Rome and now in the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen (inv. 1453). The emperor is shown with a military chestplate (cuirass) and a crown of oak leaves tied in the back with a ribbon (fillet): the “corona civica.” Note the small marble “struts” that have been left to add support to the fillet so that it will not break off.

H: 51 cm.

The find-spot of this bust is not known for certain. It was purchased in Rome in 1896 and had been privately owned before then. Within a decade of its public debut, scholars of the time questioned its authenticity, including Furtwängler and Lippold; the latter considered the decoration of the cuirass (around neck and shoulders) to look suspiciously like a Renaissance interpretation.

Credits:
© 2010. Photo, text: Roger B. Ulrich.
THE GALLERY OF ANCIENT ART
Keywords: marble cuirass bust portrait of Caligula roman emperor Caius Gaius Caligula Julio-Claudian dynasty dinastia giulio-claudia Julii-Claudii armour civil civic wreath from oak oaken leaf leaves gorgoneion gorgonion head of Gorgon Gorgons Medusa Inv No 1453
HISTORY OF ANCIENT ROME