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Marble portrait head of the philosopher Chrysippos

Period:
Early Imperial
Date:
1st century A.D.
Culture:
Roman
Medium:
Marble
Dimensions:
5 1/2 in. (14 cm)
Classification:
Stone Sculpture
Credit Line:
Fletcher Fund, 1924
Accession Number:
24.243
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 171
Copy of a Greek statue of the late 3rd century B.C., probably by Euboulides

Chrysippos was one of the most important Stoic philosophers of the third century B.C. His writings helped establish Stoicism as a major philosophical movement. Stoicism held that human beings should be free from passion and calmly accept all occurrences as the unavoidable result of divine will. The term Stoic derives from the Greek word stoa, a type of colonnaded building in which the philosophers gathered.

It is clear from other copies of this type that Chrysippos was usually represented seated, as a fragile elderly man with his right hand outstretched as if in the midst of making a point. In a manner characteristic of most early Hellenistic art, the viewer would be drawn into the pictorial space and become, as it were, the philosopher's interlocutor. His winning intellect, eloquently conveyed in the features of this head, would have contrasted markedly with his frail old body, emphasizing that the power of the spirit triumphs over physical weakness.
Richter, Gisela M. A. 1925. "Recent Accessions of Ancient Marbles." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 20(4): pp. 104, 107, fig. 4.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1927. Handbook of the Classical Collection. pp. 211-212, fig. 146, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1930. Handbook of the Classical Collection. pp. 211-212, fig. 146, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1950. The Sculpture and Sculptors of the Greeks, 3rd edn. pp. 84, 424, fig. 232, New Haven: Yale University Press.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1953. Handbook of the Greek Collection. pp. 123, 261, pl. 101b, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1954. Catalogue of Greek Sculptures. no. 188, pp. 97-98, pls. 132a-c, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Haff, Ralf von den. 1994. Philosophenporträts des Früh- und Hochhellenismus, Biering and Brinkmann, ed. pp. 100 n. 16, 169, München.

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