Portrait of a Man, Probably Gaius Caesar, early 1st century

Not on Viewexpand_more

This head was meant to be inserted into a full-length statue. The bone structure, mouth, and arrangement of the figure's hair are consistent with portraits of Gaius Caesar (20 B.C.-4 A.D.), the son of Augustus' only child, Julia, and Agrippa. The disheveled appearance and beard resemble other representations of men in mourning and may signify that Gaius was mourning the death of his brother Lucius in 2 A.D.

The Emperor Augustus adopted Gaius and Lucius as his heirs in 17 B.C. in order to familiarize the public, and especially the army, with the idea of hereditary rule. As his chosen successors, they were made to look like the emperor in their portraits. While this practice strengthened the validity of their claims, it also made it difficult to tell the brothers apart. However, neither brother succeeded Augustus, since both died during his lifetime. Augustus was then forced to adopt his wife Livia's son, Tiberius, who did become emperor (14-37 A.D.).

Portrait of a Man, Probably Gaius Caesar
Accession Number
Curator Approved

This record has been reviewed by our curatorial staff but may be incomplete. These records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@artsmia.org.

Does something look wrong with this image? Let us know

Zoom in on the left to the detail you'd like to save. Click 'Save detail' and wait until the image updates. Right click the image to 'save image as' or copy link, or click the image to open in a new tab.

No Image Available