Danube Virtual Museum

The Head of the Emperor Trajan's Father

Title: The Head of the Emperor Trajan's Father
Site: Kostol - Pontes / Transdrobeta
Location/Region: Kladovo
Chrolonology: 1 AD - 500
Museum: National Museum in Belgrade
Country: Serbia
Culture: Roman
Closer Dating: The end of the 1st century
Material: Bronze
Dimensions: H 29 cm, W 22,7 cm
Production Technique: Molding

Popović Lj., 1987. Classical Portraiats in Yugoslavia (N. Cambi, I. Popović, Lj. Popović, D. Srejović eds.), Beograd.

Ratković D. 2007, In. Balkani, Antiche civilita tra il Danubio e l Adriatico, (eds. T. Cvjetićanin, G. Gentili, V. Krstić), Milano


Portrait of a mature man of distinctive character traits and emphasized uniqueness is far from the idealized character. Truthfulness and realism in the process of modeling has reached the peak in expressing the true character as well as the nature of the model. In the spirit of naturalism, all facial features and details have been extremely accurately reproduced: shaven face without a beard, prominent wrinkles, lips pressed together, a straight nose. The hair is short, arranged in several tresses, framing the forehead and falling on his temples. Eyebrows are highlighted realistically.
He is looking ahead. The portrait was a part of a statue that stood on Trajan's Bridge along with other statues. The treatment of the statue and the data on gilding traces - only possible for the statuettes of the emperor himself or members of his family are suggesting that it is the portrait of a very important person. This portrait is identified as a portrait of Trajan’s father by its characteristics and similarities with the portrait kept in the Art Museum in Geneva. However, there is an opinion that this is a portrait of Trajan’s companion and a praetorian prefect Claudius Livianus.

By its stylistic features, this portrait belongs to the group of top specimens of the Roman portrait bronze figures from the end of the 1st century and is one of the best representatives of veristic style in the Roman portrait sculpture.