The J. Paul Getty Museum

Portrait Head of Tiberius ("The Lansdowne Tiberius")

Object Details


Portrait Head of Tiberius ("The Lansdowne Tiberius")






Roman Empire (Place Created)


A.D. 14–37



Object Number:



29.2 × 21 × 22.2 cm (11 1/2 × 8 1/4 × 8 3/4 in.)

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Object Description

This portrait head represents the Roman emperor Tiberius. He is recognizable by the thin eyebrows, almond-shaped eyes and thin lips, and his hair features comma-shaped locks that radiate from the crown of his head. The nose and part of the chin were restored during treatment in 2013. Following its discovery, this head had been paired with a body from another ancient statue, and earlier publications – dating back to the nineteenth century, when the portrait was in the collection of Lansdowne family in England – show the Tiberius head atop a full-size nude male body. Between 1966 and 1971, the head and body were taken apart, and sold separately. The body is now at the Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA (inv 71.535).


William Petty-Fitzmaurice, 2nd earl of Shelburne, 1st marquess of Lansdowne, 1737 - 1805 (Lansdowne House, London, England), acquired from his estate by his son, John Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, 1805.

1805 - 1809

John Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, 1765 - 1809 (Lansdowne House, London, England), by inheritance to his wife, Mary Arabella Petty, 1809.

1809- 1810

Mary Arabella Petty, marchioness of Lansdowne, died 1833 (Lansdowne House, London, England), sold to her brother-in-law, Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, 1810.

1810 - 1863

Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, 3rd marquess of Lansdowne, 1780 - 1863 (Lansdowne House, London, England), by inheritance to his heirs, 1863.

1863 - 1866

Henry Thomas Petty-Fitzmaurice, 4th Marquess of Lansdowne, British, 1816 - 1866, by inheritance to his heirs, 1866.

1866 - 1927

Henry Charles Petty-Fitzmaurice, 5th marquess of Lansdowne, 1845 - 1927, by inheritance to his heirs, 1927.

1927 - 1930

Henry William Edmund Petty-Fitzmaurice, 6th marquess of Lansdowne, British, 1872 - 1936 (Bowood House, Wiltshire, England) [sold, The celebrated collection of ancient marbles: the property of the most honourable the Marquess of Lansdowne, Christie's, March 5, 1930, lot 111 (as part of a marble statue), to Altounian-Lorbet Gallery.]

1930 -

Joseph Altounian and Henriette Lorbet (Altounian-Lorbet Gallery) (Macon, France)

by 1953

Unknown (London, England)

- 1966

George N. Krimitsas, died 2004 [sold, Sotheby's, London, June 13, 1966, lot 178 (as part of a marble statue), to Royal Athena Galleries.]

1966 - 1971

Royal Athena Galleries (New York, New York), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1971.

Selected Works from the Ancient Art Collection of the John Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, California, (May 29 to July 10, 1971)
  • Hetzel Union Gallery (State College), May 29 to July 10, 1971
Caesars and Citizens: Roman Portrait Sculpture from the J. Paul Getty Museum (April 26, 1981 to February 28, 1982)
  • Philbrook Museum of Art (Tulsa), April 26 to July 12, 1981
  • Archer M. Huntington Art Gallery (Austin), September 17 to December 6, 1981
  • Phoenix Art Museum (Phoenix), January 6 to February 28, 1982
Roman Portraits (March 1 to April 15, 1990)
  • Fisher Gallery, University of Southern California (Los Angeles), March 1 to April 15, 1990
Tiberius: Portrait of an Emperor (October 16, 2013 to March 3, 2014)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa (Malibu), October 16, 2013 to March 3, 2014

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"Visits to private galleries." Art Union (October 1, 1847), p. 358.

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Michaelis, Adolf. "Die Privatsammlungen antiker Bildwerke in England." Archaeologische Zeitung 32 (1875), 36, no. 23.

Michaelis, Adolf Theodor Friedrich. Ancient Marbles in Great Britain (Cambridge: University Press, 1882), p. 444, no. 28.

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Reinach, Salomon. Repertoire de la statuaire grecque et romaine. 6 vols. (Paris: E. Leroux, 1897-1930), vol. 1 (1897), p. 568, pl. 925, no. 2556c.

Christie's, London. March 5, 1930, lot no. 111. Whole statue.

Vermeule, Cornelius C. "Notes on a New Edition of Michaelis: Ancient Marbles in Great Britain." American Journal of Archaeology 59 (1955), p.139, Lansdowne House no. 28.

Polacco, Luigi. Il Volto di Tiberio. Rome: 1955, p. 129, note.

Sotheby's, London. Sale cat., June 13, 1966, lot no. 178. [whole statue].

Selected Works from the Ancient Art Collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, California, exh. cat. (University Park: The Pennsylvania State University College of Arts and Architecture, 1971), no. 14.

Frel, Jirí, and Elizabeth Buckley. Greek and Roman Portraits in the J. Paul Getty Museum. exh. cat. California State University at Northridge, October 16-November 11, 1973 (1973), no. 19.

Vermeule, Cornelius, and Norman Neuerberg. Catalogue of the Ancient Art in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1973), pp. 26-27, no. 56.

Hertel, Dieter. "Untersuchungen zu Stil und Chronologie des Kaiser- und Prinzenportraets von Augustus bis Claudius." Ph.D. diss. (Bonn, 1978), p. 248, no. 85.

Frel, Jirí. In collaboration with Sandra Knudsen Morgan. Roman Portraits in the Getty Museum. Exh. cat. for "Caesars and Citizens," Philbrook Art Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma, April 26-July 12, 1981, pp. 36, 122, no. 22, ill.

Massner Ann-Kathrein. Bildnisangleichung: Untersuchung zur Entstehungs- und Wirkungsgeschichte der Augustusporträts (43 v. Chr. - 68 n. Chr.) Das römische Herrscherbild IV. (Berlin: Gebr. Mann Verlag, 1982), p. 80n421.

Fittschen, Klaus, and Paul Zanker. Katalog der römischen Porträts in den Capitolinischen Museen und den anderen kommunalen Sammlungen der Stadt Rom, I: Kaiser- und Prinzenbildnisse (Mainz: 1983, rev. 1994), 14, no. 12, n. 8b; p. 15, n. 9.

Pollini, John. Roman Portraiture: Images of Character and Virtue, exhibition cat., Fisher Gallery, University of Southern California (Los Angeles, 1990), pp. 26-27, cat. no. 7 (Laura E. Cogburn).

Fittschen, Klaus, Paul Zanker, and Petra Cain. Katalog der römischen Porträts in den Capitolinischen Museen und den anderen kommunalen Sammlungen der Stadt Rom, II: Die männlichen Privatporträts (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2010), p. 61n5.

Hertel, Dieter. Die Bildnisse des Tiberius. (Wiesbaden: Reichert Verlag, 2013), p. 189, no. 104, pl. 91, 97.1.

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Saunders, David, Barr, Judith, and Budrovich, Nicole. “The Antiquities Provenance Project at the J. Paul Getty Museum.” In John North Hopkins, Sarah Kielt Costello, and Paul Davis (eds.), Object Biographies. Collaborative Approaches to Ancient Mediterranean Art (Houston: The Menil Collection, 2021), 213-214, fig. 10.5.