It is difficult to identify the portraits of Roman children but, in this
case, there is an important clue. The boy wears two garments: a light tunic,
visible around his neck and on his right shoulder, and a paludamentum,
or military cloak. The paludamentum is fastened with a carved button
at the right shoulder. This special cloak was worn only by men of high military
rank or by the sons or adoptive sons of the emperor.1
Certain stylistic features of this portrait (especially the position of the
head, the polish of the skin and the treatment of the eyes) suggest that it
is of Antonine date. Thus, it may represent one of the many Antonine princes,
perhaps one of the seven sons of Marcus
Aurelius and Faustina Minor (see Antonine
Woman as Venus, Riley Collection).
Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, The Tom and Nan Riley Collection, formerly in a French private collection. Copyright © 1997 Cedar Rapids Museum of Art. All rights reserved.
Photos by C. Randall Tosh, copyright © 1988 The University of Iowa Museum of Art. All rights reserved.
Text from Richard Daniel De Puma. Roman Portraits. Iowa City, IA: The University of Iowa, 1988. Copyright © 1988 The University of Iowa Museum of Art. All rights reserved.
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