Head of an athlete
The head is made of a greyish, striped marble – probably from Hymettos. The back of the head has been broken off along a fault in the marble and linked with a dowel hole. The tip of the nose has been broken off. The eyes are inlaid; white marble, while the irises are of black diorite. The pupils were once inlaid in another material now lost. Traces of red paint can be seen with the naked eye in the hair.
In 2004 the head underwent conservation and was remounted.
Description of object
This is the head of a young man with short hair around a flat band which is a schematically rendered fillet. This feature together with the cauliflower ears characterises him as an athlete. The forehead is low, the mouth a bow shape and there is a dimple in the chin. The inlaid eyes give the face a lively expression. The tip of the nose has been broken off. The eyes are inlaid with white marble, the irises being in black diorite; the pupils are drilled holes which were once inlaid in another material. The very back of the head has been broken off along a fault in the marble linked with the dowel hole. The surface has been zealously cleaned in recent times. The shape of the back of the head indicates that the head comes from a herm, from which it has been hacked off.
Choice of methods
Marble identification method
- Naked eye: Greyish, striped marble, could be from Hymettos.
F. Poulsen (1951), Catalogue of Ancient Sculpture in the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen, cat. no. 117.
M. Moltesen, Catalogue. Imperial Rome III. Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen, cat. no. 162.
- IN 455
- 1st century C.E.
- Roman Imperial
- White marble. Probably Hymettian.
- Bought in 1888 by Wolfgang Helbig from the collection of Count Tyszkiewicz.
- H. 23 cm.; face: 12.5 cm.