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Identification and Creation

Object Number
Head of a Man
Work Type
c. 125 BCE-c. 75 CE
Hellenistic period, Late, to Early Roman Imperial
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Marble from mainland Greece (?)
actual: 30.5 x 25.5 cm (12 x 10 1/16 in.)


Recorded Ownership History
Dr. Harris Kennedy, Milton, MA (by 1932), gift; to the William Hayes Fogg Art Museum, 1932.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Dr. Harris Kennedy, Class of 1894
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

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Published Catalogue Text: Stone Sculptures: The Greek, Roman and Etruscan Collections of the Harvard University Art Museums , written 1990

Head of a Man

The head is probably from a large funerary stele, civic monument, or commemorative relief. The marble, from mainland Greece (?), has a yellow patina. The nose is missing. The back of the head terminates in the back of the relief. There are chips on the surface.

The head was made to be viewed almost frontally, but it is turned slightly to the subject's own left. The head is of a man of early middle age at the oldest and has the closely carved curly hair characteristic of the height of the Hellenistic period or the end of the Roman Empire.

A famous head of about 50 B.C. in the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen (no. 461), from Cyzicus shows the point of departure for the Harris Kennedy head, which must represent a man reasonably prominent in some municipality's affairs, or even in the political world on a broader scale from Italy to the East, at the end of the Roman Republic or the Julio-Claudian decades of the Roman Empire (Hafner, 1954, p. 48, no. NK2, pl. 20; Poulson, 1973, p. 49, no. 11, pl. XIX).

The big stele from the Ionian coast, in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, gives an excellent illustration of the type of himation-clad man who would have been represented in the complete monument containing the Kennedy head. The suggested date is around 200 BC (Pfuhl, Mobius, 1977, I, pp. 109-110, no.l 261, II, pl. 49). Another example, in the Kos Museum, presents the male subject in the heroic pose of a Pergamene statue. The date is 150-125 BC (Pfuhl, Mobius, 1977, I, p. 82, no. 117, II, pl. 28).

Cornelius Vermeule and Amy Brauer

Publication History

  • Cornelius C. Vermeule III and Amy Brauer, Stone Sculptures: The Greek, Roman and Etruscan Collections of the Harvard University Art Museums, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1990), p. 144, no. 132

Verification Level

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