Roman marble bust representing a barbarian, Circa 300 A.D.
Ancient roman portraiture comprised the full range of classes and populations founds throughout the roman empire. Dating from approximately 300 AD, this white marble bust of a barbarian is a candid representation of one of the many non-Roman citizens who made up the population of the region. Just one of his shoulders is drapped in a robe, baring his chest to the viewer as he lowers his head slightly to meet our gaze. He is vulnerable in his status as a non-citizen, yet the inherent strength of a man outside the law of the Empire is seen in the strong pectorals and furrowed brow of this particular barbarian. Roman sculpture in the 4rd century BC had become highly realistic in the pursuit of an idealized beauty, and this marble bust is a prime example of how striking this realism could be. The bust is still on its original pedestal. The lower part is a later addition from the 17th and 18th centuries.