- Museum number
- Object: Treu Head
Marble insert head from a statue of Venus or Minerva, with traces of black and red paint on the eyebrows and eyes, and yellow paint on the hair and brow. The flesh is stained pink.
- Production date
- 140-150 (circa)
Height: 38.10 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- The head is remarkable for the rich pigment traces it preserves and needs to be handled with great care. It is a key piece for any discussion of ancient sculptural polychromy.
For a detailed description of the original colour traces see. G. Treu, "Bemalter Marmorkopf im Britischen Museum", JdI 4 (1889), 18-24 pl. 1.
The head has since been extensively re-investigated scientifically, see: G. Verri, T. Opper and T. Deviese, "The 'Treu Head': a case study in Roman sculptural polychromy", The British Museum Technical Research Bulletin 4 (2010), 39-54.
Two detached fragments from the sides of the head have recently been re-identified and re-attached.
The head originally contained an ancient iron dowel (perhaps part of a meniskos) that was extracted after the head was acquired, in order to protect the marble. The dowel is registered as 1884.6-17.2.
- Bibliographic references
Sculpture / Catalogue of Greek Sculpture in the British Museum (1597)
Verri et al 2010 / The 'Treu Head': a case study in Roman sculptural polychromy (p.39-54, p.40, fig.1, p.41, fig.2, p.42, fig.3, p.43, table.1, p.45, fig.4-5, p.46, fig.6, p.47, fig.8, p.48, fig.9, p.49, fig.10, p.50, fig.11, p.51, fig.12)
Daniels et al 2014 / Technological insights into madder pigment production in antiquity (p.18, table.1)
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2014, 4 Sept - 30 Nov, Copenhagen, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, The 4th Dimension: Colour in Ancient Sculpture
2020-2021 30 Jan - 17 Jan, Liebieghaus Skulpturen Sammlung, Frankfurt am Main, Gods in Colour reloaded
- Acquisition date
- Greek and Roman
- Registration number