Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object
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Marble portrait of the emperor Caracalla

Period:
Severan
Date:
A.D. 212–217
Culture:
Roman
Medium:
Marble
Dimensions:
H. 14 1/4 in. ( 36.2 cm)
Classification:
Stone Sculpture
Credit Line:
Samuel D. Lee Fund, 1940
Accession Number:
40.11.1a
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 169
Caracalla took the official name of M. Aurelius Antoninus Pius as part of the Severan dynasty’s attempt to appear as the legitimate and worthy successors of the secondcentury Antonine emperors. Despite this, in his official portraiture, he abandoned the luxuriant hair and beard of his predecessors for a military style characterized by closely cropped curls and a stubble beard. An ancient source records that on his deathbed, his father Septimius Severus advised Caracalla to “enrich the soldiers and despise everyone else.” This finely carved head is a powerful rendering of the official portrait and was probably produced at an imperial
workshop, since the statue fragments are said to have been found in Rome. It is from a statue, the legs of which also survive and are displayed in the Study Collection on the Mezzanine Floor.
Said to be from Rome

Acquired January 15, 1940, purchased from H.P. L'Orange, Oslo.
Richter, Gisela M. A. 1940. "Four Notable Acquisitions of the Metropolitan Museum of Art." American Journal of Archaeology, 44 (4): pp. 432-42, figs. 13-18.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1940. "A Portrait of Caracalla." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 35(7): pp. 139-42, figs. 1-2.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1940. "Notes: A Roman Ringstone." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 35(11), pt. 1: pp. 229.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1940. "A Rearrangement of Roman Portraits." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 35(10): p. 202.

Altheim, Franz. 1943. Die Krise der alten Welt im 3. Jahrhundert n. zw. und ihre Ursachen. Dritter Band, Götter und Kaiser, Vol. 3. p. 84, pls. 74-5, Berlin: Ahnenerbe-Stiftung.

Hill, Dorothy Kent. 1944. "Some Late Antique Portraits." American Journal of Archaeology, 48(3): p. 263 n. 9.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1948. Roman Portraits, 2nd edn. no. 107, p. vi, ill. on front cover, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Bandinelli, Ranuccio Bianchi. 1958. Enciclopedia dell'Arte Antica, Classica e Orientale, Vol. 2. p. 338, fig. 448, Rome: Instituto della Enciclopedia Italiana.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1970. "The Department of Greek and Roman Art: Triumphs and Tribulations." Metropolitan Museum Journal, 3: pp. 82, 84, fig. 21.

Bergmann, Marianne. 1977. Studien zum römischen Porträt des 3. Jahrhunderts n. Chr. p. 12, 202, Bonn: Habelt.

Vermeule, Cornelius V. 1977. "Commodus, Caracalla and the Tetrarchs: Roman Emperors as Hercules." Festschrift für Frank Brommer, Ms. Ursula Höckmann and Antje Krug, eds. p. 293 n. 17, Mainz/Rhein: Verlag Philipp von Zabern.

von Bothmer, Dietrich. 1978. Antichnoe iskusstvo iz muzeia Metropoliten, Soedinennye Shtaty Ameriki: Katalog vystavki. no. 99, pl. 27, Moscow: Sovetskii Khudozhnik.

Levi, Peter. 1980. Atlas of the Greek World. p. 206, Oxford: Phaidon Press.

Wood, Susan. 1981. "Subject and Artist: Studies in Roman Portraiture of the Third Century." American Journal of Archaeology, 85(1): p. 65 n. 37, fig. 4, pl. 14.

Wood, Susan. 1982. "The Bust of Philip the Arab in the Vatican: A Case for the Defense." American Journal of Archaeology, 86(2): p. 245, fig. 4, pl. 40.

Salzmann, Dieter. 1983. "Die Bildnisse des Macrinus." Jahrbuch des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, 98: p. 369 n. 88, fig. 24.

Wood, Susan. 1986. Roman Portrait Sculpture, 217-260 A.D.: The Transformation of an Artistic Tradition. pp. 29 n. 16, 30, fig. 2, Leiden: Brill.

Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1987. Greece and Rome. no. 109, pp. 141-2, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Kleiner, Diana E. E. 1992. Roman Sculpture. p. 324, fig. 286, New Haven: Yale University Press.

Oliver Andrew Jr. 1996. "Honors to Romans: Bronze Portraits." The Fire of Hephaistos: Large Classical Bronzes from North American Collections, Prof. Carol Mattusch, ed. p. 150, Cambridge: Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Harvard Art Museums.

Kleiner, Diana E. E. 2000. "Family Ties: Mothers and Sons in Elite and non-Elite Roman Art." I Claudia II: Women in Roman Art and Society, Diana E. E. Kleiner and Dr. Susan B. Matheson, eds. p. 53, Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.

Huskinson, Janet. 2005. "Art and Architecture, A.D. 193-337." The Crisis of Empire, A.D. 193-337, The Cambridge Ancient History, Vol. 12, Alan K. Bowman, Peter Garnsey, and Averil Cameron, eds. pp. 685-86, fig. 7, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Picón, Carlos A. 2007. Art of the Classical World in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Greece, Cyprus, Etruria, Rome no. 454, pp. 389, 494, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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