Portrait of a Bearded Man

Object Details

Title:

Portrait of a Bearded Man

Artist/Maker(s):

Unknown

Culture:

Greek

Place(s):

Pergamon, Asia Minor (Place created)

Date:

about 150 B.C.

Medium:

Marble

Dimensions:

40.7 x 25 x 31.7 cm (16 x 9 13/16 x 12 1/2 in.)

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An older man with a short beard confronts the viewer with an intense gaze and furrowed brow. The head belongs to a larger category of portraiture that arose in the wake of Alexander the Great: portraits of Hellenistic rulers. Designed as propaganda to legitimize the ruler and emphasize dynastic connections, these portraits are often highly idealized images of their subjects, bearing an intentional similarity to each other. Yet, with the bump in his nose, his square jaw, and the folds between his cheek and mouth, this portrait captures this man's individuality.

This head is all that remains of a larger than life-size, full-length portrait statue. The scale of the work implies that it was a public monument rather than a private commission. Sculptors in the Hellenistic kingdom of Pergamon frequently used such grayish marble. Since the figure does not wear a diadem, he cannot have been a ruler when the statue was erected. Yet, his scale and regal bearing clearly suggest that he is a member of a royal family, perhaps of Pergamon.

Provenance
- 1991

Fritz Bürki & Son (Zurich, Switzerland), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1991.

Exhibitions
Ancient Art from the Permanent Collection (March 16, 1999 to May 23, 2004)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), March 16, 1999 to May 23, 2004
Bibliography

"Acquisitions/1991." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 20 (1992), p. 142, no. 4.

Herrmann, Ariel. "A Hellenistic Portrait Head," The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 21 (1993), pp. 29-42. figs. 1a-e.

Meyer, Hugo. "The Levy Bronze. On Portraiture and Copying under the Attalids." Bullettino della Commissione Archeologica Comunale di Roma XCVII (1996) p. 174; fig. 50.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 4th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), pp. 22-23.

Towne Markus, Elana. Masterpieces of the J. Paul Getty Museum: Antiquities. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997) p. 68.

Walsh, John, and Deborah Gribbon. The J. Paul Getty Museum and Its Collections: A Museum for the New Century (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 153.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 6th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001), pp. 22-23.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Antiquities Collection (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2002) p. 27.

Queyrel, Francois. Les portraits des Attalides. Fonction et representation (BEFAR 308). Athens 2003. pp. 56, 82, 83-87, 88, 93, 103, 199, 280; pl. 8, 9.1-4, 10.1; cat. no. B1 (Eumenes I).

Gans, Ulrich-Walter. Attalidische Herrscherbildnisse. Studien zur hellenistischen Portratplastik Pergamons. Philippika, Marburger alterumskundliche Abhandlungen 15 (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2006) pp. 62, 65-68, 82, cat. no. 15.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 7th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2007), p. 6, ill.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Antiquities Collection. Rev. ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2010), p. 28.

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    Audio: Head of a Bearded Man (Descriptions)