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Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek


This full size potrait statue bears traces of original paint, especially on the garments where five different pigments are observed including red, yellow, violet, black and blue. The pigments appear mostly as scattered particles, with the exception of a compact layer of red along the folds on the back of the sculpture. The blue pigment has been identified as Egyptian blue by means of VIL-imaging and is most conspicuous on the lower garments, in the folds of the garments and in the rim of the left eye of the statue.

Several ‘drops’ of red paint probably modern, the result of frequent retouchings are observed on most of the statue which complicates the difference between original paint and later additions.

Description of object

The fingers of both hands are damaged. The statue is inserted into a limestone plinth. The plinth has been repaired and the right foot is modern. The head was inserted. At one time, the head was broken off the neck. The right ear which was originally affixed to the head is completely missing.

The sculpture has been zealously cleaned and the face shows signs of retouching especially in the fractures and joints. On the garments several ‘drops’ of red colour are seen, which can most likely be attributed to post-antique treatment of the statue.

Archaeological Commentary

The inscription on the plinth reads: FUNDILIAE C. F. PATRONAE

Choice of methods

Visual examination

  • Macroscopic
  • Microscopic in situ

Technical imaging

  • UV
  • VIL

Visual examination

Sporadic particles of red, yellow and blue are found on most of the garments. In a few cases a dark violet/red is found especially on the lower part of the garment where blue grains also appear. A few red grains are found on the cheeks and traces of a pale pink is observed between the lips. On the back of the sculpture red is present as a compact band along the folds of the garments.

Technical imaging

VIL: Egyptian blue is observed in several places. Shiny white grains are seen primarily on clothing, shoes and the base. On the skin areas the grains are mostly seen on the small, original fragment placed between the restored areas of the left hand while the right hand only bears a few grains. The face and hair show no trace of Egyptian blue, but on a detailed image of the eyes a white luminescence is seen along the upper rim of the left eye.

On the garments Egyptian blue is seen both as scattered particles and in larger concentrations especially in the folds.

UV-FL: Studies do not detect fluorescence from the initial use of organic dyes, for example, between the lips where a pale pink is observed in tungsten light. The head is partially covered by a compact, opaque white layer. On the tip of the nose, along the neck fracture and in several places on the clothing a greenish fluorescence is observed.

Other types of investigation

XRF in situ The "compact layer of red found on the back of the garments and the red area on the left shoe was exsamined with XRF and showed a high content of iron (Fe) suggesting the use of hematite.

The several ‘drops’ of red paint found on most of the sculpture, probably modern, was also exsamined and showed a content of iron (Fe)


F. Johansen (1994), Roman Portraits I. Catalogue Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen, 184-185, cat. no. 80.

  • IN 708
  • Portrait statue
  • 1st century C.E.
  • Roman Imperial
  • Marble
  • Acquired in 1891 from Count Orsini, through the mediation of Helbig.
  • H. 178 cm.

Selected photos

  • In708_t_0
  • In708_t_90
  • In708_t_180
  • In708_t_270
  • In708_d_0_torso
  • In708_uv_t_0
  • In708_d_0_torso
  • In708_d_0_eyes
  • In708_vil_d_head
  • In708_vil_d_lower_garments_front
  • In708_vil_d_right_hand
  • In708_vil_d_band_garment_front
  • In708_vil_d_band_dress
  • In708_d_0_mouth
  • In708_d_0_dress
  • In708_d_0_shoe
  • In708_mi_0_darkred_dress_x26
  • In708_mi_0_blue_dress_x26
  • In708_map_t_0
  • In708_map_t_180
  • In708_map_d_0_dress_pointer
  • In708_mi_180_sample2_dress_x200