The Marbles of Roman Portraits - New Data on the Marble Provenance of 261 Imperial and Private Urban Portraits Dating from the mid 1st century B.C. to the early 6th century A.D.

Donato Attanasio, Mathias Bruno, Walter Prochaska

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Abstract

Abstract: Donato Attanasio – Matthias Bruno – Walter Prochaska, The Marbles of Roman Portraits. New Data on the Marble Provenance of 261 Imperial and Private Urban Portraits Dating from the Mid 1st Century B.C. to the Early 6th Century A.D. The marble provenance of 261 Roman portraits (167 imperial, 94 private) mostly of urban production and dating from the mid 1st century B.C. to the early 6th century A.D. has been established. The results show that Göktepe, not far from Aphrodisias, was the most widely used variety (44.3 %, imperial portraits) followed by Parian lychnites (28.7 %), whereas other marbles such as Luna or Docimium played a limited role. Göktepe started to be used at Rome in Trajanʼs times and rapidly spread out, becoming dominant under Hadrian. Subsequently, the trend did not change. Göktepe was the most prized sculptural marble in Antonine times, reached its apogee under the Severans and continued to be the marble of choice during the 3rd century and in late antiquity. Correspondingly, Parian lychnites, dominant till the mid 1st century A.D., underwent a strong decrease and almost disappeared from the late 2nd centu- ry onwards. Also the importance of Luna marbles appears to be much lower than previously thought. The role played by Aphrodisian artists is considered to be crucial for explaining the success of the marble of Göktepe. The consequences of this close sculptor-marble relationship on the artistic trends that were popular at Rome in imperial times are briefly discussed. Keywords: Roman Portraits – Marble Provenance – Diachronic Data – Göktepe Marble – Lychnites Marble – Aphrodisian Sculptors – Isotopes – Trace Analysis – EPR
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-277
JournalJahrbuch des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts
Volume2019
Issue number134
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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