Ancient Art
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Subject: Commodus, Caesar A.D. 166–80, emperor of Rome A.D. 180–92

Portrait of the Emperor Commodus as a Boy

A.D. 172–73

Marble

45 x 41 x 20 cm (17 11/16 x 16 1/8 x 7 7/8 in.)
Ruth Elizabeth White Fund
2007.84.1
Commodus, son of the emperor Marcus Aurelius and his wife, Faustina the Younger, is shown here at the age of eleven. As attested by the medallion also in the Yale University Art Gallery’s collection, he has just been granted the title Germanicus in honor of his father’s victories in Germany. The heavy-lidded eyes recall those of Marcus Aurelius and link the son with his imperial father, a common propaganda device in portraits emphasizing dynastic succession. No signs of Commodus’s megalomania, which is known from historical sources, appear in this portrait of the young prince.
Culture: 
Roman
Period: 
Imperial, Antonine
Classification: 
Sculpture
Status: 
On view
Bibliography: 

Art for Yale: Collecting for a New Century, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2007), 211, 390, pl. 198.

“Acquisitions, July 1, 2007–June 30, 2008,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2008): 182, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.

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