Portrait of Julius Caesar
Luna marble.
Ca. 44 BCE.
Height 33 cm.
Turin, Museum of AntiquitiesPhoto by Egisto Sani

Portrait of Julius Caesar.

Luna marble.
Ca. 44 BCE.
Height 33 cm.

Turin, Museum of Antiquities.

Tuscolo near Frascati, Province of Rome, formerly in Agliè Castle, Province of Turin.
According to Velleius Patercolus, “sprung from the noble family of the Julii, and tracing his descent from Venus and Anchises, he [Caius Caesar] surpassed all his fellow-citizens in beauty of person.” (Historiae Romanae 2, 41. 1).

Looking this portrait, identified as the Tusculum-Aglié type, Patercolus’ words turn out be at least flattering. This portrait shows the face of a man who has passed the fifty, characterized by a large balding forehead, small and protruding eyes, long nose with a bit curved septum, prominent cheekbones on sunken cheeks, thin lips and strong square-jawed. The head shows some cranial congenital irregularities: the excessive growth of the left parietal bone and the elongated shape of the skullcap. The thin neck shows a pronounced Adam’s apple. The Tusculum Caesar strikes the observer for his sly smile and his gaze of superiority pointed toward him. The calligraphic rendering of the hair suggests that this statue is the copy of an original bronze portrait dating from Caesar’s time.

Similarities with the portrait reproduced on the “denarii” coined by M. Mettius in 44-43 BC, date this portrait in the last months of the dictator’s life or in those immediately following his death.

The lively presence suggested by the Tusculum-Agliè type is lost in a more recent portraiture type known as “Chiaramonti-Pisa type”, commissioned by Augustus after the deification of Caesar (42 BC). According to this new style the irregularities and the signs of aging are softened, and the forehead is framed by a fringe made by locks modeled as “pincer” and “scissors”, so as to accentuate the similarities between the emperor and his adoptive father.

Source: “Rivoluzione Augusto”: Exhibition Catalogue, Electa
(cc) 2015. Photo: Egisto Sani (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).
Exhibition “Augustus Revolution” (Roma, Museo Nazionale Romano, Palazzo Massimo, 16.12.2014 — 02.07.2015).
Description: “Rivoluzione Augusto”: Exhibition Catalogue, Electa.
Keywords: απεικόνιση portrait portraiture ritratto ritrattistica porträtmalerei porträt of a man male maschile uomo männliches mann masculin un homme portraitkopf roman romana römisches romain romano römischer δικτάτορα γάιος ιούλιος καίσαρ dictator gaius julius caesar caius iulius dittatore gaio giulio cesare diktator cäsar dictateur jules césar γλυπτική sculptura sculpture sculptural scultura skulptur ρωμαϊκό romani römisch römische römischen romaine romains romaines κεφάλι κεφαλή head testa kopf tête luna carrara marble marmo lunense carrarese lunensischer carrarischer carrara-marmor marbre de carrare luni marmor lunensis μάρμαρο καρράρα from tusculum aglie inv no 2098