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Roman marble statue of a togatus, 1st-2nd Century AD.

Conservation:  It lacks the head and left hand, which were sculpted separately.
Material:  Marble
Dimensions:  80 x 50 x 20; 120 cm high with stand
Provenance:  1911, found in the private property of Mrs. Mela Savic-Petrovic; 1948, bought by Bratislav Jankovic from a dealer; 1988, bought by Mario Jakovina from Branislav Jankovic; Bought from M. Kovacic, Austria, 2022. Includes sale and purchase documents for the years 1988 and 2022.


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The figure, with the typical oratorical gesture, is depicted wearing a tunic and over it a toga, the most characteristic Roman garment. The toga is draped around his body under his right arm, and runs up his back, falling from his left shoulder in an intricate drapery down to his ankles. The right arm is bent at the elbow, passing over the drapery and holding part of the drapery that falls over the chest. The left arm is held close to the body bent at the elbow and with the forearm turned so that it can be understood, although the hand has been lost, that the palm would be facing the sculpture in a relaxed position to hold the folds of drapery that fall over the arm and do not cover the hand.

The left leg is brought forward, while the right leg is bent from the knee downwards and is slightly backwards. This pose creates a foreshortened position in the figure which gives movement and dynamism to the composition.

At the base of the toga, supporting the piece and as an attribute of the figure, is a cylindrical scrinium or leather case for holding papyrus scrolls, which identifies him as a man working in the public sphere.

The head is not preserved, nor is the left hand, as these pieces were sculpted separately and later joined to the work. As they protruded from the body, it was common for them not to be preserved, especially the heads, which were modified to represent different people when the post changed hands. It can be seen that the left hand was joined by the box-and-tenon technique with a metal nail holding the joint.

The back of the piece is only succinctly carved, so it is understood that it was not made to be viewed from this angle and would have been attached to a surface or inside a niche.

The toga and scrinium together as attributes lead us to date it to between the 1st and 2nd century AD in the Roman Empire, being a patrician with a public position, since at that time the tunic had been relegated to a ritual role and was only worn by public officials. The dramatic draping of the toga reveals the great economic status of the person depicted, a patrician, since only with the assistance of several people could this garment be worn with such a large number of defined pleats.

The 1st century AD belongs to the period known as High Imperial Rome, i.e. the period of splendour of the Roman Empire. It was a flourishing period thanks to the rise to power of Augustus, who brought about powerful changes in the Empire that had repercussions on Roman art. Gaius Octavius, or Octavian, Julius Caesar’s great-nephew, was the first Roman emperor. In 27 BC the Senate granted him the title of augustus along with extensive powers in addition to his status as consul. Thus the regime of the Principate was established, in which the prince, or first senator, concentrated power although the republican institutions were formally maintained. In addition, he assumed the imperium or command over the army and the title of Pontiff Maximus of the Roman religion.

Similar items

Comparable examples of this figure can be found in various museums around the world:

Fig. 1 Roman marble statue of a togatus (toga-wearing man), 1st Century AD. The Met Museum (USA), Accession nº: 04.15.

Fig. 2 Roman marble statue of a Togatus, second half of the 2nd century A.D. J. Paul Getty Museum (USA), Accession nº: 79.AA.77

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