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"Bust of Pseudo-Seneca" | Grand Tour, after the antique



Italian, late 19th century

Bust of Pseudo-Seneca

Patinated bronze over black marble | unsigned, cast circa 1890

Item # 301PZI27A 

An incredibly attractive Grand Tour cast of the Bust of Pseudo-Seneca. It is executed in bronze and is finished in a nuanced medium-brown chemical patina augmented by verdigris highlights while a range of other autumnal colors come through in the relief.

It is cast after the original bust of antiquity found in 1754 at Herculaneum in the Villa of the Papyri, the home of Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus, father-in-law of Julius Caesar. The estate was buried in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. The bust had been thought to be an image of Lucius Annaeus Seneca - Seneca the Younger - the famous Stoid philosopher and fabulously wealthy advisor to Nero. However, after a titled bust of Seneca was discovered with very different features, scholars now have various opinions on the attribution of the bust with most believing it to be an image of Hesiod or Aristophanes, while some also attribute it to Aesop, Apollonius of Rhodes, or Callimachus. The sculptor must have been very famous and the image of lasting quality, as forty copies of the bust made in antiquity have been found. It is incredibly dramatic, the emmaciated man looking forward with elements of sorrow, determination and haggard exhaustion as his unkempt hair furls chaotically around his forehead.

The present example is set over an original black marble base and was likely cast circa 1890.

Measurements: 18 1/4" H (total height with base) x 13 1/8" H (height of bronze only) x 10 1/2" W x 8 7/8" D; base is 5 1/2" D x 5 1/2" W

Condition Report:
Very fine original condition; well-preserved original patina cleaned and sealed under wax; only the most minor handling wear to patina.