Published: April 14, 2020
LOUISVILLE, COLO. – A Roman Imperial period, circa Third Century CE marble head of a bearded male claimed top lot in Artemis Gallery’s April 9 sale when it sold for $24,900. The head was carved from white marble during the era of Emperor Alexander Severus and measures 11½ inches high on stand. The piece had been published in The Muse’s Song: Selections of Ancient Art, Fortuna Fine Arts, Ltd., 2008, and had been exhibited by Cahn AG, Switzerland, at major fairs from 2016 to 2019, including TEFAF Maastricht, Netherlands, 2017; Frieze Masters, London 2017; La Biennale, Paris 2018.
The gallery wrote, “In very early Rome, men wore their beards uncut. It was not until 300 BCE, that Roman men shaved their beards as a rule according to Pliny (VII. 59). Pliny notes that P. Ticinius Maenas brought over a barber from Sicily at this time, and from then on, shaving became regular habit. During the later Republican period, some men partially shaved and trimmed their beards. Interestingly, when mourning, men would allow their beards to grow, but in general, beards during this time were thought to be a mark of the lower classes and slovenliness.
In addition, the first time a male shaved was noted as a milestone – a signature of manhood. The Emperor Hadrian (reigned 117-138 CE), however, revived the beard. According to Plutarch, he wore a beard to hide scars on his face. Thereafter, beards were favored by emperors until the time of Constantine the Great (reigned 306-337 CE).”
Watch for a sale review in a future issue.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm