Portrait of the emperor Hadrian.

Marble. First half of the 1st century CE.
H. 79 cm.
Inv. No. 1805.7-3.94.

London, The British Museum

Origin:
From the Townley collection, 1805.
Description:
Roman marble portrait of the emperor Hadrian (reign 117-138 CE) now in the British Museum (inv. 1805.7-3.94), formerly in the collection of Charles Townley. The bust depicts the emperor unclad; the evocation of the Greek concept of “heroic nudity.” Hadrian was the first emperor to show himself regularly with a beard (perhaps to reference the idea of the Greek philosopher). In the early second century sculptors also began to drill the pupils of the eyes. Previously most would have been painted on the bust.
Literature:
Hadrian: Empire and Conflict (London: British Museum Press 2008) pg. 52; 226.
M. Wegner, Hadrian, Plotina, Marciana, Matidia, Sabina (Das Römische Herrscherbild; II. Abt., Bd. 3 (Berlin 1956) p. 15, 69,101.
Credits:
© 2010. Photo, text: Roger B. Ulrich.
THE GALLERY OF ANCIENT ART
Keywords: marble marmo busto ritratto maschile male portrait bust of the roman emperor Hadrian Publius Aelius Hadrianus Adriano Hadrien from the Townley Collection Inv No 1805 7 3 94
HISTORY OF ANCIENT ROME