Indiana University Bloomington IU Bloomington IUB

Portrait of a Young Man

This finely made marble sculpture portrays a young man with social status. It follows the newly developing imperial style. Portraits in this style are rooted in the ultra-realistic presentations that were popular in the previous Republican period. Their naturalism, however, is slightly idealistic. Augustus, the first Roman emperor, was interested in echoing the calm dignity of classical Greek statuary as a way of summoning associations with authority as well as virtuosity. It is possible that this head from a life-sized statue was a portrait of someone in the emperor Augustus' family. Based on the resemblance to other identified portraits, this head may represent Marcus Claudius Marcellus (42 to 23 BC), the son of Augustus' sister, Octavia.

Portrait of a Young Man
Imperial period, 1st century BC–1st century AD
H. 11 3/4 in. (29.8 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, 75.33.4