The Emperor as Philosopher, probably Marcus Aurelius (reigned AD 161-180)

The Emperor as Philosopher, probably Marcus Aurelius (reigned AD 161-180)

c. AD 180–200

Bronze, hollow cast in several pieces and joined

Overall: 193 cm (76 in.)

Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 1986.5


Did you know?

This sculpture was cast in 29 pieces, expertly joined together to create one figure (with at least one more piece for the head, now lost).


The extremely high quality and monumental scale of this bronze draped figure suggest that it is an imperial portrait. Unusually, however, the pose and dress resemble those of a Greek philosopher rather than a Roman statesman (wearing a chiton and himation rather than toga). For these reasons, even without a head to confirm the identity, scholars have suggested this likely represents Marcus Aurelius, the Roman emperor known for his philhellenism and Stoic writings.


Monumental Masterpiece
Philosopher's Costume
Imperial Portrait?
Bronze Casting
See also

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