Pair of Portrait Busts of Youths and Two Marble Eyes

Object Details

Title:

Pair of Portrait Busts of Youths and Two Marble Eyes

Artist/Maker(s):

Unknown

Culture:

Roman

Place(s):

Roman Empire (Place created)

Eastern Gaul (France) (Place found)

Date:

60 - 70

Medium:

Bronze and marble

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Who do these two bronze portrait busts represent? They are very similar in appearance, although one appears slightly older than the other. Both boys have a hairstyle with a distinctive wave across the forehead, which was popular during the reign of the Roman emperor Nero. The busts originally had long, separately made locks of hair, which were attached to the back of the heads. Their long locks may indicate that they represent a pair of attendants in a youth organization called the Iuventus, which held special favor under Nero. If so, these busts are the only known portraits of such attendants in the Iuventus and were probably created to be displayed in one of the organization's shrines.

One bust has an acanthus band at the bottom; while this feature is missing on the other bust, traces of solder may indicate its original presence. Also missing from both heads are the original inlaid eyes made of colored stone or glass paste. The emphasis on the front view, the simplistic treatment of the back of the head, and the overall style indicate that this pair of busts was made in the Roman province of Gaul.

These busts are said to have been found in France along with the Offering Box and the Statuette of Mars/Cobannus. The pieces were probably all displayed together in a local shrine of the Iuventus.

Related Works
Bibliography

"Acquisitions/1989." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 18 (1990), Both are published; see exts.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Calendar. April 1990. Both are published; see exts.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 3rd ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1991), Both are published; see exts.

Mattusch, Carol. The Fire of Hephaistos: Large Classical Bronzes from North American Collections. Exh. cat. Cambridge, Mass: 1996. Both are published; see exts.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 4th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), Both are published; see exts.

Towne Markus, Elana. Masterpieces of the J. Paul Getty Museum: Antiquities. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997) Both are published; see exts.

Fellmann, Rudolf, et al. "Une divinite gallo-romaine inconnue, son precurseur gaulois et un depot de statuettes trouve en France," La sculpture d'epoque romaine dans le nord, dans l'est des Gaules et dans les regions avoisinantes. 2000. pp. 163-175. Both are published; see exts.

Pollini, John. "Two Bronze Portrait Busts of Slave Boys from a Shrine of Cobannus in Gaul," Studia Varia from the J. Paul Getty Museum 2. Occasional Papers on Antiquities 10 (2001), pp. 115-152. Both are published; see exts.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 6th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001), Both are published; see exts.

Lahusen, Götz, and Edilberto Formigli. Römische Bildnisse aus Bronze: Kunst und Technik. Munich: Hirmer, 2001. nos. 92, 93 (see extensions).

Pollini, John. The Cobannus Hoard. Gallo-Roman Bronzes and the Process of Romanization. (Leiden: Brill, 2002). Both are published; see exts.