About this artwork
This portrait depicts Antinous (c. A.D. 110–30), the handsome, youthful companion of the Roman emperor Hadrian (r. A.D. 117–38). He is immediately identifiable by his round face, deep-set eyes, bow-shaped mouth, and layers of thick, wavy hair. Although Hadrian had long been married to Sabina (c. A.D. 83–136 or 137), he is thought to have shared an intimate relationship with the young man in the spirit of the Greek aristocratic tradition of erotic love between a man and a male youth. The two spent several years traveling the Roman Empire together until Antinous drowned in the Nile River in 130. Devastated by his companion’s untimely death, Hadrian founded a city named Antinoupolis on the east bank of the Nile and had the young man deified, after which he established a cult in his honor. Hadrian also ordered sculptures of Antinous to be erected across the Roman Empire. This fragmentary head comes from a portrait bust of Antinous, which was likely displayed in Rome following his death.
- Ancient Roman
- Fragment of a Portrait Head of Antinous
- 101 AD–200 AD
- 31.7 × 31 × 17 cm (12 1/2 × 12 × 6 1/2 in.)
- Gift of Mrs. Charles L. Hutchinson