Roman marble head of a young man, 300 A.D.

The ancient Romans were great portrait artists, from pictorial representations, steles, niches or sculptures. The sculpture in front of us represents the portrait of a young Roman man and it is a great example of the mastery they acquired with marble. The tendencies of the portraits were adopted by the Romans from the Greek tradition. Among the portraits, the most common were the head and the bust. We also find full body sculptures, but in a smaller number. It can be explained that it was so for economic reasons, being cheaper than the full body sculpture. Another reason could be a better individual identification and the fact that the head was the center of interest in the portrait. Emperors used portraits for their political programs and to demonstrate power while, in a private sphere, portraits did their function in a funerary context. Busts with descriptions decorated the altars and tombs of the deceased. This statue with its head shows the artistic trends of the 3rd century A.D., recalling the classicism of Augustus' time.


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