Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Torso of a Ptolemaic King, inscribed with cartouches of a late Ptolemy

Period:
Ptolemaic Period
Date:
80–30 B.C.
Geography:
From Egypt
Medium:
Basalt
Dimensions:
H. 93 cm (36 5/8 in); w. 31 cm (12 3/16 in); d. 25 cm (9 13/16 in)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift and Rogers Fund, 1981
Accession Number:
1981.224.1
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 137
The names preserved on this fine torso are probably those of either Ptolemy XII or Ptolemy XV. In its waning years the Ptolemaic Dynasty was struggling for stability and was increasingly dependent on Rome. As though seeking to transcend the difficulties of the period, Ptolemy XII took the title Neos Dionysus, “the New Dionysus/ Osiris.” A number of sculptures exist depicting him as an emphatically youthful figure. The best alternative candidate, Ptolemy XV, also known as Caesarion, was the short-lived son of Cleopatra VII and Julius Caesar.
Purchased from Peter Sharrer Ancient Art, New York, 1981. Published MMA Notable Acquisitions 1981-82 and subsequently, continuously exhibited.

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