Collection online

portrait head

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Head from an over-life-sized marble statue of the emperor Vespasian, perhaps re-carved from a portrait of Nero. The nose is missing.

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 70-80 (59-64 Terme Type of Nero, which may have been the original portrait)
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 45.72 centimetres
  • Curator's comments

    The head may have been re-carved from a portrait of Nero, after the latter's death and damnatio memoriae. This is indicated by the appearance of the marble surface on the back of the neck, where it looks like an originally longer section of hair was removed, by the disproportionatelly large ears, and by inconsistencies in the coiffure.

    - M. Bergmann and P. Zanker, "'Damnatio Memoriae': Umgearbeitete Nero- und Domitiansportraets. Zur Ikonographie der flavischen Kaiser und des Nerva", in JDI 96 (1981), 317-412 [this head p. 344 no. 8 fig 20].
    - E. R. Varner, Mutilation and Transformation. Damnatio Memoriae and Roman Imperial Portraiture (Leiden 2004).


  • Bibliography

    • Sculpture 1890 bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G70

  • Exhibition history

    2011 May - October, Carlisle, Tullie House Museum, short-term term loan
    2016-2017, Oct-May, Defacing the Past exhibition at BM

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Greek & Roman Antiquities

  • Registration number


Head from an over-life-sized marble statue of the emperor Vespasian.

Head from an over-life-sized marble statue of the emperor Vespasian.

Image description



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Object reference number: GAA1802

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