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Portrait Head of a Philosopher

A work made of marble.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of marble.

Date:

Second half of the 2nd century AD

Artist:

Roman

About this artwork

The Roman emperor Hadrian (r. A.D. 117–38), who embraced Greek intellectual pursuits, popularized the beard among men young and old, who had previously been clean-shaven. The beard quickly became a fashionable style as well as a sign of one’s interest in classical learning, leading elite Roman men to have themselves portrayed in the guise of philosophers. This portrait of an unidentified man, who wears a full beard and a hairstyle of wavy locks over his forehead, resembles portraits of the Greek philosopher Plato. The introspective eyes, with their heavy lids and drilled pupils, also contribute to the sitter’s intellectual demeanor.

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Ancient and Byzantine Art

Culture

Ancient Roman

Title

Portrait Head of a Philosopher

Origin

Roman Empire

Date

150 CE–200 CE

Medium

Marble

Dimensions

33 × 19.1 × 22.9 cm (13 × 7 1/2 × 9 in.)

Credit Line

A. A. Sprague Fund

Reference Number

1923.49

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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