An outstanding and elegant sculpture
The central part of this exceptional bust is in greenish alabaster, while the right shoulder is made of Sicilian broccatello marble; the bust is from the 16th century, while the arm and head in white marble are from a later period.
The sculpture work is outstanding, as seen from the elegance of the alabaster scrolls that adorn the entire bust. The high quality, dimension and importance of this work is also distinguished by the roughing of the excess material on the back of the torso to make it lighter. A refinement that is found normally only in ancient works.
The reuse of ancient alabaster statues reintegrated in the hands and especially in the head was in vogue in the seventeenth century; it spread, especially in Rome. The most famous example is the natural-sized Saint Agnes that the French sculptor Nicolas Cordier made for the Roman church of the same name in 1605, using an ancient alabaster trunk for the body. Similarly, for the Borghese, he conceived the so-called Zingarella and the young blackberry still in the original collection in Rome, using ancient black marble from the Roman era.
Similarities between our bust and that of Emperor Septimius Severus in the collection of the Capitoline Museums in Rome
The Capitoline Museums host a rich series of imperial portraits, representing one of the collection’s most precious features. The portraits are displayed in chronological order. Among the various busts of emperors, the one in greenish alabaster by Lucius Septimius Severus Augustus stands out.
The material isn’t the only similarity with our statue, even the quality of the toga volutes are very close to our Caesar Augustus bust. This bust of exceptional quality and rarity deserves a thorough study to place it in the correct historical period and collection.