Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Marble portrait of the emperor Augustus

Early Imperial, Julio-Claudian
ca. A.D. 14–37
11in. (27.9cm)
Stone Sculpture
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1908
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 166
When Octavian took the title of Augustus in 27 B.C., an official portrait was created that embodied the qualities he wished to project, and hundreds of versions of it were disseminated throughout the Empire. The features are individualized, but the overall effect is of calm, elevated dignity and brings to mind Classical Greek art of the fifth century B.C. With this studied understatement, the portraits could evoke the values of the glorious past of Athens and at the same time present the emperor simply as primus inter pares, first among equals.
[Until 1908, with Ettore Jandolo, Rome]; acquired in 1908, purchased from E. Jandolo.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1909. "The Department of Classical Art: The Accessions of 1908--II. Marbles." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 4(4): p. 64, fig. 3.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1941. Roman Portraits, Vol. 1. no. 10, p. 2, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1948. Roman Portraits, 2nd edn. no. 17, p. ii, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Boschung, Dietrich. 1993. Die Bildnisse des Augustus. no. 141, p. 167, taf. 110, Berlin: Gebr. Mann.

Milleker, Elizabeth J. 2000. The Year One: Art of the Ancient World East and West no. 12, pp. 32–33, 205, New York and New Haven: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Zanker, Paul. 2016. Roman Portraits: Sculptures in Stone and Bronze in the Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. no. 15, pp. 57, 64–65, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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