Portrait of Gaius Caesar?

20 BC-AD 4


H. 34.5 cm ; W. 18.8 cm ; D. 20.5 cm


Acquired by Rodin between 1893 and 1917.

This Roman head probably came from a statue of Gaius Caesar (20 BC-AD 4) depicted in a toga. Son of Julia and Agrippa, he and his brother, Lucius, were adopted in 17 BC by their grandfather, Emperor Augustus, who wanted to make these two children his heirs. They received the titles of “Prince of Youth”and “Caesar”,but died before they could reign.


This serene, juvenile portrait, made before Gaius’ death, corresponds to Rodin’s ideal of the Antique: a face composed of broad planes, with neither hollows nor holes, at times visible beneath the concretions and the earth in which it was buried. The sculptor abandoned himself to the contemplation of the Antique, loved its gentle sensuality, and said that he drew reassurance and encouragement to pursue his own work from it.


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