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Incredible Roman Marble Goat Head

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Lot 0057 Details

Description
Roman, early Imperial Period, ca. 1st century CE. Wow! A stunning marble goat head, carved with full lifelike details: large eyes that would once have been painted, recessed within thick eyelids, on a face carved with clear musculature, a strong snout, a forelock, goatee, and neck hair, large, pointed ears that are back on the head, and huge, curved, striated horns that rise from the top of the head to rest against the back of the neck. Age has given the marble a banded appearance, wearing away the original pigment that would have been applied to the stone but revealing the weathered color of the rock beneath. Size: 8.5" W x 11.7" H (21.6 cm x 29.7 cm); 15" H (38.1 cm) on included custom stand.

Goat statuary in the classical world, especially in early Imperial Rome, was associated with the god Bacchus (Dionysus), god of wine and nature, and with the revels of the satyrs. Some of the most famous depictions of these animals come from Hadrian's villa near modern-day Tivoli. One (see below) is a goat's head from a larger statue; another is the so-called Fauno rosso, a statue in red marble that depicts a drunken satyr with a goat looking up at him. This goat head probably graced a similar statue.

A similar goat's head was found at Hadrian's villa and is now at the British Museum (it was restored in the 18th century): https://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=460135&partId=1&searchText=marble+goat+roman&images=on&page=1; a goat head in similar condition sold at Christie's London in 2017 for 32,500 GBP (42,400 USD): https://www.christies.com/lotfinder/Lot/a-roman-marble-head-of-a-goat-6084703-details.aspx

Provenance: private Texas, USA collection, acquired in 1929 in Greece by P. Nascou (great-grand daughter), who purchased it from Georgios Papoutsakis

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#143503
Condition
All original and unrestored. Central part of one horn is lost. Small portions of the other horn are also lost. Small chips and scratches from surface commensurate with age. Piece is obviously a fragment from a larger sculpture, with an old break along the lower neck. Deposits on surface. Excellent preservation of many of the details.
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Incredible Roman Marble Goat Head

Estimate $12,000 - $15,000Feb 21, 2019
Starting Price $6,500
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