The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of April 21, 2024

Portrait Head of C. Cornelius Gallus (?)

Portrait Head of C. Cornelius Gallus (?)

c. 30 BCE
(332 BCE–395 CE), Roman empire (30 BCE–395 CE)
Overall: 39 x 22 x 22.6 cm (15 3/8 x 8 11/16 x 8 7/8 in.)
Location: 103 Roman

Did You Know?

Traces of red paint remain, especially in the hair.


This highly individual portrait must have been made for a man of considerable importance. It may represent Gaius Cornelius Gallus, who lived c. 69-26 BC. After aiding Octavian in the war against Antony and Cleopatra, Gallus served as the first governor of Egypt. There he put down two rebellions, but soon fell into disgrace and exile, eventually committing suicide. The head was made to be inserted into a body, and has a flat back and top, suggesting it once wore a separately made fold of toga draped over it (in the fashion known as togatus capite velato, associated with high priests). Some scholars have suggested a later date for this portrait, perhaps in the reign of Nero or Claudius.
  • Levi de Benzion, Paris
    Said to have been found in the western Delta between Damanhur and Benha. Formerly in the collection of Moîse Levi de Benzion, Paris. Purchased from Michel Abemayor, New York
  • The Cleveland Museum of Art. Handbook of the Cleveland Museum of Art/1966. Cleveland, OH: The Cleveland Museum of Art, 1966. Reproduced: p. 24
    Cleveland Museum of Art, “Golden Anniversary Acquisition,” 1966, Cleveland Museum of Art Archives.
    Stechow, Wolfgang. "Cleveland's Golden Anniversary Acquisitions." ARTNews 65, no. 5 (September 1966): 30-44, 62-64. Mentioned: p. 32; Reproduced: p. 44
    "The Cleveland Museum of Art Golden Anniversary," Archaeology 19.4 (1966), pp. 277-283. Ill. on p. 278.
    Cooney, John D. "A Roman Imperial Head from Egypt." The Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art 54, no. 1 (1967): 17-21. 25152135.
    The Cleveland Museum of Art. Handbook of the Cleveland Museum of Art/1969. Cleveland, OH: The Cleveland Museum of Art, 1969. Reproduced: p. 24
    Grimm, G. "Zu Marcus Antonius und C. Cornelius Gallus," Jahrbuch des Deutschen Archaologischen Instituts 85 (1970), pp. 158-170. Abb. 1, 2, 4.
    The Cleveland Museum of Art. Handbook of the Cleveland Museum of Art/1978. Cleveland, OH: The Cleveland Museum of Art, 1978. Reproduced: p. 28
    Vermeule, Cornelius C. Greek and Roman Sculpture in America: Masterpieces in Public Collections in the United States and Canada. Malibu, Calif: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 1981. P. 280, cat. 237.
    Kiss, Zsolt, and Maria M. Berger. Etudes sur le portrait impérial romain en Egypte. Varsovie: Editions scientifiques de Pologne, 1984. Pp. 45, 141 (figs. 76-77).
    Berman, Lawrence M., and Kenneth J. Bohač. Catalogue of Egyptian Art: The Cleveland Museum of Art. Cleveland, OH: Cleveland Museum of Art, 1999 Reproduced: p.465; Mentioned: p. 465-6.
    Capasso, Mario, and Paolo Radiciotti. Il ritorno di Cornelio Gallo: il papiro di Qasr Ibrîm venticinque anni dopo. Napoli: Graus, 2003. P. 128, Tav. 12.
    Beck, Herbert, Peter Bol, and Maraike Bückling. Ägypten Griechenland Rom: Abwehr und Berührung, (Exhib. cat.).Frankfurt: Das Städel, Städelsches Kunstinstitut und Städtische Galerie, 2005. P. 710, cat. 321 (discussed and ill.).
    Hoffmann, Friedhelm, Martina Minas-Nerpel, and Stefan Pfeiffer. Die dreisprachige Stele des C. Cornelius Gallus: Übersetzung und Kommentar. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2009. Taf. IV-V.
  • Egypt-Greece-Rome. Städelsches Kunstinstitut im Städtischen Kunstinstitut Frankfurt am Main, Franfurt am Main, Germany (organizer) (November 26, 2005-February 26, 2006).
    Das Stadel/Städelsches Kunstinstitut und Städtische Galerie, Frankfurt am Main, Germany (11/26/2005 - 2/26/2006): "Egypt-Greece-Rome"
    CMA, 10 September-16 October 1966, Golden Anniversary Acquisitions, cat.: CMA Bulletin 53, no. 7 (September 1966), no. 5, illus. p. 185
  • {{cite web|title=Portrait Head of C. Cornelius Gallus (?)|url=false|author=|year=c. 30 BCE|access-date=21 April 2024|publisher=Cleveland Museum of Art}}

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