This bust of a vigorous middle-aged man with sharply turned head and piercing gaze is a splendid example of psychological portraiture and conveys an impression of intense concentration. Like numerous portraits of the mid-second century A.D., this work shares many features with the type of portrait used to represent philosophers throughout antiquity. It is unlikely, however, that the man shown here followed that profession. The bust was designed to be seen strictly from the front. The top and back of the head, the rear of the neck, and the reverse of the breast are only roughly blocked out. Since the back of the bust has not been hollowed out to provide for a supporting pillar and base, it is likely that the portrait was inserted into a marble tondo and displayed rather high on a wall.
Until 1977, collection of Pierre Sciclounoff, Geneva, Switzerland; from 1977, colelction of Dr. André Lagneau, Neuchâtel, Switzerland; [until 1998, with Phoenix Ancient Art S.A., Geneva, Switzerland]; acquired in 1998, purchased from Phoenix Ancient Art S.A.
Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1998. "One Hundred Twenty-eighth Annual Report of the Trustees for the Fiscal Year July 1, 1997 through June 30, 1998." Annual Report of the Trustees of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 128: p. 17.
Picón, Carlos A. 1999. "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 1998-1999." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, 57(2): p. 9.
Picón, Carlos A. 2007. Art of the Classical World in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Greece, Cyprus, Etruria, Rome no. 449, pp. 384, 493, New York: 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. 60, pp. 114, 166–68, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.