This Julio-Claudian portrait bears resemblance to sculptures of Lucius Caesar (20 B.C. – 4 A.D.) and Gaius Caesar (17B.C.-2 A.D.), the sons of Agrippa, who were adopted in 17 B.C. by Augustus. They were intended as Augustus’ successors, but Lucius died at Marseilles on his way to a military campaign in Spain, while Gaius died in Lycia.

This portrait recalls features of their adoptive father Augustus, specifically the brushed forward hair that diverges near the center of the forehead, as well as the strong bone structure of the angular face and the intense emotional presence. While images of Augustus always have strongly idealized features, this current example has a naturalism that distinguishes it from its inspiration.

Modelled brows, drilled at their inner canthi, his long locks brushed forward, curving left and right from the off-center break above the nose, a single lock before of each large ear, the back of his head summarily carved.

PORTRAIT OF LUCIUS CAESAR (?)

  • Italy
  • Roman Julio-Claudian Period, first half of the 1st century A.D.
    Roman Art
  • Marble
  • H. 42 cm
  • Provenance :

• Peter Iasillo, probably in 1985 or earlier

• Sotheby’s, New York, 14 December 1994, n° 92, ill. 

• Martin Armstrong, acquired from the above sale

• Christie’s, New York, 7 December 2011, n° 173, ill. 

• Axel Vervoordt, Belgium, acquired from the above sale.

 

This portrait recalls features of their adoptive father Augustus, specifically the brushed forward hair that diverges near the center of the forehead, as well as the strong bone structure of the angular face and the intense emotional presence. While images of Augustus always have strongly idealized features, this current example has a naturalism that distinguishes it from its inspiration.

Modelled brows, drilled at their inner canthi, his long locks brushed forward, curving left and right from the off-center break above the nose, a single lock before of each large ear, the back of his head summarily carved.

Photo credit : Studio Asselberghs – Frédéric Dehaen