Μarble portrait of a child
Portrait of a child 10-12 years old. The head has a slight inclination to its left. The face is oval with wide cheeks. The outline of the mouth is unclear but the lower lip is fleshier and separated from the upper by a groove. The eyes are almond-shaped, with the upper eyelid in higher relief and covering the lower lid at the outer corners. The pupil is rendered by means of a drill as a shallow hollow and the iris, with an incised outline is rendered plastically, giving the figure an especially lively expression. The eyebrows, framing the eyes, are rendered plastically with incised lines. The right brow is raised. The hair is short, falling to the top of the neck, and rendered as a fairly plastic mass. It is shown as combed from the top of the head downward in rays of equal, slightly curving waves separated by shallow incisions and falling over the forehead and temples, leaving exposed the large, projecting ears. The mass of hair is parted into two unequal sections over the left eye, with long slightly curving strands of hair running in opposite directions. An expression of seriousness and controlled sorrow fills the child’s face.
The hair parted over the left eye and the face with its wide surfaces are characteristic of sculpture of the second decade of the 2nd century A.C., specifically of the time of Trajan. Yet the rendering of the pupil with a drill and the iris with incised outline are characteristic of the time of Hadrian.
The head should be dated in the transitional period, between Trajan and Hadrian, around 117-120 A.C. It probably comes from a large grave statue, comparable to that in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens (no. 3086).
– Choremi-Spetsieri Α. 2006. Cat. no. 109, in Choremi-Spetsieri Α. – Zarkadas Α. (eds), The Paul and Alexandra Canellopoulos Museum. Ancient Art, Athens, 182-183.