Mar 20, 2009
Mar 20, 2009
Mar 20, 2009
Mar 20, 2009

Portrait Head of Emperor Vespasian, Recut from Head of Nero

Portrait Head of Emperor Vespasian, Recut from Head of Nero

AD 64–79


Overall: 40 x 21.6 x 24.9 cm (15 3/4 x 8 1/2 x 9 13/16 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1929.998


On view at:

Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Ithaca, NY
Jan 21, 2023 - Jun 12, 2023

Did you know?

Originally a portrait of Emperor Nero, this head was recarved after his damnatio memoriae (condemnation of memory).


Although this portrait head was designed to fit into a statue of a body, it did not originally belong with the togate body that held it when purchased by the museum in 1929. In 1973, the two were separated, and the body is now in storage. The head itself was recarved in antiquity, from a likeness of Nero to one of Vespasian, following the damnatio memoriae (condemnation of memory) of the former. A line at the back of head shows clearly where the long hair of Nero has been shortened, while other Neronian features, such as a receding lower lip, remain.

See also
GR - Roman
Greek and Roman Art
Type of artwork: 

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