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Ancient Greek Portrait Sculpture
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  • 171 b/w illus.
  • Page extent: 238 pages
  • Size: 279 x 215 mm
  • Weight: 0.922 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 733/.3
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: NB1296.3 .D55 2006
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Portrait sculpture, Greek
    • Portrait sculpture, Ancient--Greece

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521854986 | ISBN-10: 0521854989)


This book offers a new approach to the history of Greek portraiture by focusing on portraits without names. Comprehensively illustrated, it brings together a wide range of evidence that has never before been studied as a group. Sheila Dillon considers the few original bronze and marble portrait statues preserved from the Classical and Hellenistic periods together with the large number of Greek portraits known only through Roman copies. By moving away from the traditional concern with names and dates, Dillon investigates the range of strategies and styles used by these portraits to construct subject identity. This study calls into question two basic tenets of Greek portraiture: first, that it was only in the late Hellenistic period, under Roman influence, that Greek portraits exhibited a wide range of styles, including descriptive realism; and second, that in most cases, one can easily tell a subject’s public role – that is, whether he is a philosopher, an orator, a poet, or a general – from the visual traits used in this portrait. The sculptures studied here instead show that the proliferation of portrait styles takes place much earlier, in the late Classical period, and that the identity expressed by these portraits is much more complex and layered than has previously been realized. Despite the fact that these portraits lack the one feature most prized by scholars of ancient portraiture – a name – they are evidence of the utmost importance for the history of Greek portraiture.

Sheila Dillon is assistant professor of art history at Duke University. A recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Academy in Rome, she is co-editor of Representations of War in Ancient Rome.


Contexts, Subjects, and Styles

Duke University

Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, São Paulo

Cambridge University Press
40 West 20th Street, New York, NY 10011-4211, USA
Information on this title:

© Sheila Dillon 2006

This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception
and to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements,
no reproduction of any part may take place without
the written permission of Cambridge University Press.

First published 2006

Printed in the United States of America

A catalog record for this publication is available from the British Library.

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data

Dillon, Sheila.
Ancient Greek portrait sculpture : contexts, subjects, and styles / Sheila Dillon.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 0-521-85498-9 (hardback)
1. Portrait sculpture, Greek. 2. Portrait sculpture, Ancient–Greece. I. Title.
NB1296.3.D55    2006
733′.3 – dc22    2005036462

ISBN-13 978-0-521-85498-6 hardback
ISBN-10 0-521-85498-9 hardback

Publication of this book has been aided by a grant from the
Millard Meiss Publication Fund of the College Art Association.


Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for
the persistence or accuracy of URLs for external or
third-party Internet Web sites referred to in this publication
and does not guarantee that any content on such
Web sites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.

To Alex and Donald, with love.

To my teachers Eve Harrison, Gunter Köpcke, Jim McCredie, and Bert Smith, with gratitude.


List of Illustrations page ix
Acknowledgments xv
Abbreviations xix
CHAPTER 1. Facing up to Anonymity 1
CHAPTER 2. Making Portraits of the Greeks 15
CHAPTER 3. Displaying Portraits of the Greeks 38
CHAPTER 4. The Appearance of Greek Portraits 61
CHAPTER 5. Greek Portraits in Practice 99
Conclusions 127
APPENDIX 1. Museum Index 129
APPENDIX 2. Portrait Catalogue 135
Notes 173
Bibliography 209
Index 215


1 Naples–Rome Old Man with Matted Beard Type. Front, Naples version (cat. A19.1) page 3
2 Naples–Rome Old Man with Matted Beard Type. Left profile, Naples version 3
3 Diphilos Type. Vienna version (cat. A12.3) 7
4 Bronze portrait from the Villa of the Papyri (cat. B64) 7
5 Statue of Demosthenes 8
6 Bust of Demosthenes 9
7 Head from a late Classical grave monument 9
8 New York–Rome–Caesarea Type. Front, New York version (cat. A19.3) 16
9 New York–Rome–Caesarea Type. Front, Rome version (cat. A19.4) 16
10 New York–Rome–Caesarea Type. Front, Caesarea version (cat. A19.1) 17
11 New York–Rome–Caesarea Type. Right profile, New York version 18
12 New York–Rome–Caesarea Type. Right profile, Rome version 18
13 New York–Rome–Caesarea Type. Left profile, New York version 19
14 New York–Rome–Caesarea Type. Left profile, Rome version 19
15 New York–Rome–Caesarea Type. Left profile, Caesarea version 19
16 New York–Rome–Caesarea Type. Back, New York version 20
17 New York–Rome–Caesarea Type. Back, Caesarea version 20
18 Getty–Woburn Abbey Type. Front, Getty version (cat. A29.1) 21
19 Getty–Woburn Abbey Type. Front, Woburn Abbey version (cat. A29.2) 21
20 Getty–Woburn Abbey Type. Right profile, Getty version 22
21 Getty–Woburn Abbey Type. Right profile, Woburn Abbey version 22
22 Getty–Woburn Abbey Type. Left profile, Getty version 22
23 Getty–Woburn Abbey Type. Left profile, Woburn Abbey version 22
24 Getty–Woburn Abbey Type. Back, Getty version 23
25 Getty–Woburn Abbey Type. Back, Woburn Abbey version 23
26 Hermarchus Type B. Front, Naples version (cat. A1.9) 24
27 Hermarchus Type B. Front, American Academy version (cat. A1.12) 24
28 Hermarchus Type B. Front, Hanover version (cat. A1.5) 25
29 Hermarchus Type B. Right profile, American Academy version 26
30 Hermarchus Type B. Right profile, Hanover version 26
31 Hermarchus Type B. Left profile, American Academy version 26
32 Hermarchus Type B. Left profile, Hanover version 26
33 Hermarchus Type B. Back, Naples version 27
34 Hermarchus Type B. Back, American Academy version 27
35 Hermarchus Type B. Back, Hanover version 27
36 Marble portrait of Metrodorus 29
37 Sophocles Type III. Front, Naples version (cat. A2.7) 32
38 Sophocles Type III. Front, London version (cat. A2.5) 33
39 Striding Poet. Rome version (cat. A14.3) 34
40 Seated statue of a poet by the sculptor Zeuxis, front 35
41 Seated statue of a poet by the sculptor Zeuxis, left 35
42 Sophocles Type III. Front, Copenhagen version (cat. A2.2) 35
43 Sophocles Type III. Left, Copenhagen version 35
44 Herculaneum and its vicinity in the eighteenth century 42
45 Plan of the Villa of the Papyri at Herculaneum 43
46 Bronze portrait from the Villa of the Papyri (cat. B65) 43
47 Bronze portrait from the Villa of the Papyri (cat. B66) 44
48 Crates Type. Front, Naples version (cat. A18.2) 45
49 Crates Type. Right, Naples version 45
50 Marble herm from the Villa of the Papyri, front (cat. B68) 46
51 Marble herm from the Villa of the Papyri, left 46
52 Marble herm from the Villa of the Papyri, front (cat. B69) 46
53 Marble herm from the Villa of the Papyri, left 46
54 Marble herm from the Villa of the Papyri, front (cat. B70) 47
55 Marble herm from the Villa of the Papyri, right 47
56 Marble herm from the Villa of the Papyri, front (cat. B71) 47
57 Marble herm from the Villa of the Papyri, left 47
58 Map of villas in the Tivoli area, with the location of the Villa of “Cassius” 50
59 Plan of the remains of the Villa of “Cassius,” Tivoli 51
60 Pericles herm 52
61 Pericles herm 52
62 Footed herm base of Peisistratos 53
63 Statue of Aeschines 63
64 Statue of “Hippokrates” 64
65 Hellenistic grave relief from Rheneia 64
66 Bronze portrait statue 65
67 Hellenistic grave relief from Rheneia 65
68 Grave stele of Artemon 67
69 Detail, head of Artemon 68
70 Detail, head of older man on Artemon stele 68
71 Grave naiskos of Prokles, found near the Dipylon Gate 69
72 Detail, figure of Prokleides 69
73 Gravestone of Ktesileos and Theano 70
74 Head of Alexos 70
75 Grave monument of man in military dress 71
76 Fragment of the grave naiskos of Polystrate 71
77 Fragment of Attic document relief 71
78 Old man from the Ilissos stele 73
79 Head of old man from grave relief 73
80 Delphi “Philosopher” 74
81 Statue from the Heraion on Samos 75
82 So-called Arundel Homer 75
83 Marble head, front (cat. B55) 78
84 Marble head, right profile 78
85 Kolotes–Lycurgus Type. Front, Tirana version (cat. A3.7) 79
86 Kolotes–Lycurgus Type. Left, Tirana version 79
87 Sophocles Type III. Right profile, Naples version (cat. A2.7) 80
88 Sophocles Type III. Left profile, Naples version 80
89 Sophocles Type III. Right profile, London version (cat. A2.5) 81
90 Sophocles Type III. Left profile, London version 81
91 Marble head (cat. B74) 81
92 Oxford–Vatican–Villa Albani Type. Front, Oxford version (cat. A16.2) 82
93 Oxford–Vatican–Villa Albani Type. Right profile, Oxford version 82
94 Galleria Colonna–Vatican Type. Front, Galleria Colonna version (cat. A25.1) 82
95 Galleria Colonna–Vatican Type. Right profile, Galleria Colonna version 82
96 Aranjuez–Vatican Theophrastus Type. Front, Aranjuez version (cat. A26.1) 83
97 Aranjuez–Vatican Theophrastus Type. Right profile, Aranjuez version 83
98 Front, Madrid, Prado 14-E (cat. B59) 83
99 Right profile, Madrid, Prado 14-E 83
100 Alicibiades–Philip Type. Front, Copenhagen version (cat. A4.1) 84
101 Alicibiades–Philip Type. Front, Vatican version (cat. A4.6) 84
102 Marble herm from the Villa of the Papyri (cat. B69) 84
103 Torlonia–Vatican Type. Front, Torlonia version (cat. A17.1) 85
104 Torlonia–Vatican Type. Right profile, Torlonia version 85
105 Copenhagen National Museum–Conservatori Type. Conservatori version (cat. A20.3) 85
106 Marble head, front (cat. B85) 87
107 Marble head, right profile 87
108 Rieti-Type Euripides. Front, Terme version (cat. A5.6) 87
109 Rieti-Type Euripides. Left profile, Terme version 87
110 Copenhagen–Florence–Liverpool Type. Front, Naples version (cat. A6.6) 88
111 Copenhagen–Florence–Liverpool Type. Left, Naples version 88
112 Berlin–Copenhagen–Munich Eudoxos Type. Front, Berlin version (cat. A15.1) 89
113 Berlin–Copenhagen–Munich Eudoxos Type. Left profile, Berlin version 89
114 Marble herm, front (cat. B37) 89
115 Marble herm, right profile 89
116 Marble head, front (cat. B38) 90
117 Marble head, right profile 90
118 Marble head, front (cat. B97) 91
119 Marble head, right profile 91
120 Marble head, front (cat. B98) 91
121 Marble head, left profile 91
122 Striding Poet Type. Head, front, Vienna version (cat. A14.4) 92
123 Naples–Rome Type. Front, Naples version (cat. A23.1) 92
124 Naples–Rome Type. Left profile, Naples version 92
125 Berlin–Lateran Type. Lateran version (cat. A30.2) 93
126 So-called Hipponax: found in the Kerameikos 93
127 Tall marble herm, front (cat. B91) 94
128 Tall marble herm, right profile 94
129 Marble portrait of a poet (?) (cat. B46) 94
130 Statue of New Comedy poet Poseidippos; head reworked 95
131 Ennius–Vergil New Comedy Poet Type. Front, Copenhagen version (cat. A10.1) 96
132 Ennius–Vergil New Comedy Poet Type. Right profile, Copenhagen version 96
133 Marble portrait of wreathed poet, front (cat. B57) 96
134 Marble portrait of wreathed poet, right profile 96
135 Marble herm portrait of a poet, so-called Pseudo-Menander (cat. B48) 97
136 Marble statue of the Pseudo-Menander, head reworked 97
137 Marble herm from the Auditorium of Maecenas, front (cat. B87) 97
138 Marble herm from the Auditorium of Maecenas, left 97
139 Plan of Classical Athens 101
140 Plan of the Athenian Agora in about 300 BCE 103
141 Base for the portrait statue of the poet Menander 105
142 Base for the portrait statue of the philosopher Carneades 105
143 Reconstruction of the portrait statue of the general Chabrias 108
144 Grave stele of Chairdemos and Lykeas 108
145 Attic document relief: Herodoros crowned by Athena 109
146 Marble portrait of a strategos 109
147 Marble bust, front (cat. B67) 111
148 Marble bust, left 111
149 Cast reconstruction of the portrait statue of Epicurus 114
150 Marble statue of Chrysippus, head restored 114
151 Cast of lost bust of Carneades 115
152 Bronze philosopher on a column 117
153 Detail: bronze philosopher on a column 117
154 Marble statuette of so-called Cleanthes Type. Front, New York version 117
155 Marble statuette of so-called Cleanthes Type. Left, New York version 117
156 Aranjuez–Naples–Louvre Type. Front, herm restored Aranjuez version (cat. A21.1) 119
157 Copenhagen–Capitoline Type with Toupee. Front, Copenhagen version (cat. A24.1) 120
158 Copenhagen–Capitoline Type with Toupee. Right profile, Copenhagen version 120
159 Copenhagen–Capitoline Type with Toupee. Left profile, Copenhagen version 120
160 Copenhagen–Capitoline Type with Toupee. Front, Capitoline version (cat. A24.2) 121
161 Copenhagen–Capitoline Type with Toupee. Right profile, Capitoline version 121
162 Copenhagen–Capitoline Type with Toupee. Left profile, Capitoline version 121
163 Copenhagen–Getty Poet with Fillet. Front, Copenhagen version (cat. A27.1) 122
164 Copenhagen–Getty Poet with Fillet. Right profile, Copenhagen version 122
165 Capitoline–Getty Poet with Fillet. Front, Getty version (cat. A28.1) 122
166 Capitoline–Getty Poet with Fillet. Left, Getty version 122
167 Seated poet from Claros 123
168 Seated statue of poet or philosopher 123
169 Votive relief of a seated poet, Acropolis west slope 124
170 Bronze head of a poet, front 125
171 Bronze head of a poet, right 125


This study has its origins in my doctoral dissertation, completed in 1994 for the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. During the long period of time that I have worked on this project since then, I have been the fortunate recipient of help, advice, and encouragement from many friends and institutions. I owe a profound debt to my advisor, Bert Smith, who first suggested the dissertation topic of unnamed Greek portraits to me and then supported the project with unfailing enthusiasm and encouragement through to its completion as a much different, thoroughly reconceived and revised book. He has been a generous mentor, who has always had the time to read and to comment on my work with care and speed. Numerous friends have also provided helpful advice, intellectual support, and friendship over the years. I would like to thank a few of them here: Carla Antonaccio, Tolly Boatwright, Diskin Clay, Katherine Dunbabin, Janet Grossman, William Harris, Tonio Hölscher, Ralf von den Hoff, Natalie Kampen, Tina Salowey, William Slater, Annabel Wharton, and Irene Winter. I have been particularly lucky to be involved with the excavations at Aphrodisias in Turkey since 1992, first as a graduate student and then as a staff member of the sculpture study team. The members of this team – Chris Hallett, Julia Lenaghan, Julie van Voorhis, and Katherine Welch – deserve special thanks for teaching me so much about ancient sculpture during many long summers spent handling, discussing, and arguing over thousands of statue fragments. While my participation in the Aphrodisias Excavations undoubtedly delayed the completion of the present project, it has deeply informed the way I approach ancient portraiture, and I am certain that it has made this a better book.

   Two particular institutions provided both material support and access to wonderful library collections at important stages of this work: the American School of Classical Studies, where I carried out the research for the dissertation, supported first by the Institute of Fine Arts and then by a Kress Art History fellowship from the ASCSA; and the American Academy at Rome, where I held a post-doctoral fellowship in 1997–1998 and completed the fieldwork that formed the basis for Chapters 2 and 3. At the Academy I would like particularly to acknowledge the support and encouragement of Caroline Bruzelius, Lisa Fentress, and Pina Pasquantonio; all three were instrumental in making it possible for me to combine single parenting of a newborn and academic research. My gratitude for their good humor and unfailing support knows no bounds.

   I have spoken on different aspects of this project at the College Art Association meeting in 1995, at the Archaeological Institute of America meeting in 1998, at the American Academy in the same year, and at the Institute of Fine Arts in 2002, and I thank those present at these occasions for their helpful comments. The section in Chapter 3 on the portraits from Herculaneum and Tivoli was first published in a slightly different version in the Journal of Roman Archaeology 13 (2000). I am grateful to John Humphrey for allowing me to update this study and include it here.

   The actual writing of the book was primarily accomplished while I was a faculty Fellow at the John Hope Franklin Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies at Duke University in 2002–2003 and during my junior faculty leave in the spring of 2004. I would like to thank my colleagues at Duke for providing the kind of dynamic intellectual atmosphere that encourages thinking and working across disciplines. I also owe a debt of gratitude to my immediate colleagues in the Department of Art and Art History for providing the most genial and supportive environment in which to be a junior faculty member. On a more practical note, the chair of the department, Patricia Leighten, generously set aside a fund for junior faculty that has helped to offset the cost of purchasing some of the many photographs for this book. The Office of Undergraduate Research at Duke provided funds to hire a series of talented and hard-working research assistants – Anne Douty, Kira Rosoff, and Emma Wallace – who helped with the illustrations, bibliography, and museum index. A publication subvention from the Millard Meiss Foundation made it possible to include so many illustrations, and I am very grateful for its generous support.

   For their help in obtaining photographs and securing permissions, I would like particularly to acknowledge Benedicte Gilman and Janet Grossman of the J. Paul Getty Museum, Jan Jordan of the Agora Excavations, Michael Krumme of the DAI in Athens, Michael Kunst of the DAI in Madrid, Richard Posamentir of the DAI in Istanbul, Luisa Veneziano of the DAI in Rome, Heidie Schj⊘tt of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Katja Leiskau of the Bildarchiv Foto Marburg, Lutgarde Vandeput of the Forschungsarchiv für Antike Plastik in Köln, and Chris Gravett of Woburn Abbey. For kindly allowing me to include their own photographs and illustrations, I would like to thank Greg Anderson, John Buckler, Ralf von den Hoff, and Carol Lawton.

   I must also single out for special thanks the generous colleagues who read various parts of the manuscript and offered helpful comments and suggestions, while saving me from numerous errors, both of judgment and of fact: Mark Fullerton, Chris Hallett, Brunilde Ridgway, and Andrew Stewart, as well as an anonymous reviewer for the Press. Any faults that remain are, of course, entirely my own. I am grateful to Beatrice Rehl of Cambridge University Press for taking on this project so enthusiastically, and for working diligently to see it come to fruition. This book is dedicated to those who have made such a difference in my life, both personally and professionally.

Durham, North Carolina
May 2005


Abbreviations of journals and standard works follow the format set out in American Journal of Archaeology 104 (2000), 3–24. References to ancient authors and their texts follow the abbreviations listed in the third edition of The Oxford Classical Dictionary, eds. S. Hornblower and A. Spawforth (Oxford, 1996). Abbreviations specific to this work follow.

ABr P. Arndt and F. Bruckmann, Griechische und römische Porträts (Munich, 1891–1942).

Amelung W. Amelung, Die Skulpturen des Vatikanischen Museums, I (Berlin, 1903); II (Berlin, 1908).

Bergemann, Demos und Thanatos J. Bergemann, Demos und Thanatos: Untersuchungen zum Wertsystem der Polis im Spiegel der attischen Grabreliefs des 4. Jahrhunderts v. Chr. und zur Funktion der gleighzeitigen Grabbauten (Munich, 1997).

Blümel, Berlin C. Blümel, Katalog der Sammlung antiker Skulptur: Staatliche Museen, IV (Berlin, 1931), V (Berlin, 1938).

CAT C. W. Clairmont, Classical Attic Tombstones (Kilchberg, 1993).

CDP D. Comparetti and G. de Petra, La Villa Ercolanese dei Pisoni: I suoi monumenti e la sua biblioteca (1883; reprint, Naples, 1972).

Fittschen, Griechische Porträts K. Fittschen ed., Griechische Porträts (Darmstadt, 1988).

Frel, Greek Portraits Getty J. Frel, Greek Portraits in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu, CA, 1981).

Giuliano A. Giuliano, ed., Museo Nazionale Romano: le sculture, I, 9 (Rome, 1987).

Hekler A. Hekler, Die Bildniskunst der Griechen und Römer (Stuttgart, 1912).

Johansen, Catalogue F. Johansen, Catalogue Greek Portraits: Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek (Copenhagen, 1992).

Lippold, Vatikan Katalog G. Lippold, Die Skulpturen des Vatikanischen Museums III, 2 (Berlin, 1956).

Lorenz, Galerien T. Lorenz, Galerien von griechischen Philosophen- und Dichterbildnissen bei den Römern (Mainz am Rhein, 1965).

Mansuelli G. A. Mansuelli, Galleria degli Uffizi: Le sculture II (Rome, 1961).

Neudecker, Villen R. Neudecker, Die Skulpturenausstattung römischer Villen in Italien (Beiträge zur Erschliessung hellenistischer und kaiserzeitlicher Skulptur und Architektur 9; Mainz am Rhein, 1988).

Piekarski, Anonyme griechische Porträts D. Piekarski, Anonyme griechische Porträts des 4. Jhs. v. Chr.: Chronologie und Typologie. Internationale Archäologie Studia Honoraria, vol. 32. (Rahden and Westfallen: Leidorf, 2004; Ph.D. dissertation, Bonn University, 2002).

Poulsen, Portraits grecs V. Poulsen, Les Portraits grecs, Glyptothèque Ny Carlsberg (Copenhagen, 1954).

Pozzi, MN Napoli E. Pozzi, ed., Le Collezioni del Museo Nazionale di Napoli (Rome, 1989).

Richter, POG G. M. A. Richter, The Portraits of the Greeks (London, 1965), 3 vols.

Richter-Smith G. M. A. Richter, The Portraits of the Greeks. Abridged and revised by R. R. R. Smith (Ithaca, NY, 1984).

Schefold, Bildnisse K. Schefold, Die Bildnisse der antiken Dichter, Redner und Denker (Basel, 1943).

Smith, BM Catalogue A. H. Smith, Catalogue of Sculpture in the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities, British Museum (London, 1892–1904).

Stewart, Attika A. F. Stewart, Attika. Studies in Athenian Sculpture of the Hellenistic Age, Supplementary Paper no. 14 (London, 1979).

Villa Albani P. C. Bol, ed., Forschungen zur Villa Albani. Katalog der antiken Bildwerke I–IV (Berlin, 1989–1994).

von den Hoff, Philosophenporträts R. von den Hoff, Philosophenporträts des Frühund Hochhellenismus (Munich, 1994).

Zanker, Mask of Socrates P. Zanker, The Mask of Socrates: The Image of the Intellectual in Antiquity (Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA, 1995).

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