Marble head of a Greek general


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 160

Copy of a Greek bronze statue of the middle of the 4th century B.C.

This powerful portrayal of a man of action belongs to a type popular in Roman times. One suggestion for his identity is the strategos (general) Phokion, pupil of Plato and one of the foremost Athenian statesmen of the fourth century B.C., but there is little evidence to support that theory. We do not know if the original statue was a contemporary portrait, like the famous fifth-century portrait of the Athenian statesman and general Perikles, or a posthumous work. It could even be a representation of a hero from the mythic past. He wears a Corinthian helmet pushed up and resting on the back of his head. The helmet is elaborately decorated in relief with griffins on the bowl and rams’ heads on the cheek pieces and is similar to a type worn by the goddess Athena. His eyes would have been inlaid in another material. The head has been worked for insertion into a statue.

Marble head of a Greek general, Marble, Pentelic ?, Roman

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