Portrait Head of Young Man
Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
This head is one of a small group of portraits, made in Egypt and exported to the Roman market shortly after Octavian, later the Emperor Augustus, conquered Egypt in 31 B.C.E. Although the stone and probably the workmanship are Egyptian, the hairstyle and the neck’s gentle turn to the right are typical of Roman and Greek statues. Portraits made in this period but intended for the Egyptian market look similar but have a back pillar and stare straight ahead, like the nearby black-stone Head of an Egyptian Official.
Schist or graywacke
10 B.C.E.-20. C.E.
13 13/16 x 8 1/8 x 8 7/16 in., 44 lb. (35.1 x 20.6 x 21.5 cm, 19.96kg)
44 lb. (19.96kg) (show scale)
Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
Archaeological provenance not yet documented; circa 1908, reportedly found while building the railway from Viterbo, Italy to Rome, Italy; by 1946, acquired by E.G. Spencer-Churchill of Blockley, United Kingdom; June 21-23, 1965 sold at Christie’s, London, "Antiquities from the Northwick Park Collection"; by 1966, acquired by Kamer Gallery, Paris; 1966, purchased from Kamer Gallery by the Brooklyn Museum.
Grey-green schist or greywacke Roman portrait head of a young man with part of shoulders near to neck preserved, but worked as a bust. Head turned to right; flocky hair fairly deep on forehead; sharp eyebrows; small eyes; straight nose (intact); strong mouth; cleft chin. Face well polished, but hair fairly rough. Possibly portrait of Gaius Caesar, grandson of Augustus.
Condition: Perfect, but slightly chipped round base of neck; left ear broken off and well mended.
This item is not on view
Roman. Portrait Head of Young Man, 10 B.C.E.-20. C.E. Schist or graywacke, 13 13/16 x 8 1/8 x 8 7/16 in., 44 lb. (35.1 x 20.6 x 21.5 cm, 19.96kg). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 66.65. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 66.65_view01_PS11.jpg)
overall, 66.65_view01_PS11.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2023
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What were the materials & tools used for this?
This head is made of greywacke, a type of schist. The tools likely would have metal, likely bronze, and polishing was done by rubbing granulated stone.
Is this Egyptian or Roman?
Roman. One of the ways Roman's identified themselves throughout their vast empire was through their distinctive hairstyles, like the one seen here.
This a Portrait Head of a Young man. It might be a portrait of Gaius Caesar, grandson of Augustus! Stylish indeed.