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Portrait of a man, Gallienus

Roman art

Third century A.D. (reworked from a late-Augustan original)
Third Corridor (A24)
Italic marble
65 cm (height)
1914 n. 266

Numerous parts of this piece are additions. These include the tip of the nose, the top of the skull, the hairline across the nape, the neck and the bust. The initial additions were the work of Innocenzo Spinazzi, the court restorer, and archive sources tell us that the sculpture was registered in the Uffizi collections in 1769. The sculpture was reworked during the 3rd century A.D. to take on the features of emperor Gallienus, according to a widespread practice for the period. Gallienus was emperor from 253 to 268 A.D., and stood out for his effective reform of the armies and skills as a commander. In spite of the difficult times in which he was ruling, Gallienus did not neglect the arts, literature or philosophy, favouring the neoplatonism of which his friend Plotinus was a major exponent. The overall structure of the head and the rendering of the hair on the portrait show that the work is possibly from the late Augustan period, inspired by the models of portraits of Nero Claudius Drusus, Germanicus, and Tiberius, to which, in the period of Gallienus (253-268 A.D.) a slight beard was added, by texturing the surface.



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