14 15/16 in. x 8 3/16 in. x 8 11/16 in. (38 cm x 20.8 cm x 22.07 cm)
Ancient Mediterranean, Roman
Medium and Support
Gift of Edward Perry Warren, Esq., Honorary Degree, 1926
This portrait of the emperor Antoninus Pius was sculpted using marble from the Aegean island of Paros, one of the most-prized varieties known in antiquity. The fine grain of the stone permits the rendering of intricate detail seen in the treatment of the hair and lends itself to the high polish applied to the skin of the portrait. In addition, the sculptor used a “running drill,” an early mechanical carving tool, to shape the locks of hair and to delineate the pupils of the eyes. Paint, traces of which are still visible, was added to highlight the hair and eyes to make the portrait appear more life-like. The rich treatment of the carving would have been augmented by the addition of metal wreath or crown. From back to front, Antoninus Pius was intended to be seen from all sides.
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