Head of a Bearded Man

c. 125 CE
Overall: 18.5 cm (7 5/16 in.)
Location: 103 Roman
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This head was probably originally displayed against a wall or in a niche.


This small-scale portrait depicts a bearded man turned toward his left. His close-cropped hair is combed forward in artful waves, echoed in his short beard. While parts of the chest and shoulders have been lost, the projecting element underneath suggests this portrait was intended as a bust. Beards were uncommon in Rome until the emperor Hadrian (r. 117–38 CE) popularized them during his reign. This man’s grooming is so similar to the emperor’s that he was first thought to be Hadrian; however, the face is too angular. Wealthy and noble Romans would often depict themselves with the same styles as the imperial family.
Head of a Bearded Man

Head of a Bearded Man

c. 125 CE

Italy, Roman

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