Portrait of a Scholar : Thucydidus?

(460/455-400 BC)

69-96 AD

Marble

H. 38.5 cm ; W. 21 cm ; D. 23 cm

Co.432

Acquired by Rodin between 1893 and 1917.

This Roman marble portrait is commonly associated with representations of Thucydidus, an Athenian historian and politician who lived in the 5th century BC.

 

The sculptor captured the likeness of an ageing man, with a serious, pensive expression and heavily lined face, wreathed in the wavy curls of his beard and skilfully carved hair.

 

In this portrait, Rodin could see “that critical period in life which the artist rendered in all its moving truthfulness” (Rodin, 1914). Even as a young man, Rodin had always compared his investigations, into the bust of Man with the Broken Nose , for example, with the ancient portraits in the Louvre. From 1895 onwards, his collection of Roman portraits juxtaposed his own countless projects for portraits, creating a veritable repertory of forms of expression.

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