This portrait depicts a Julio-Claudian emperor. In fact, the clean-shaven face, the small, slightly curly locks high on the forehead and the slightly protruding ears give this portrait an eternal youthfulness, typical of representations of Augustus and the members of his family.
This is a miniature bust, "bustum" in Latin. The representation of the man reduced to his head and shoulders is a Roman invention. This example is in semi-precious stone and was inspired by the great marble statuary. The eternal youthfulness that emanates from this idealised portrait brings it closer to classical Greek statuary, which distinguishes it strongly from republican realist portraits.
The bust and pedestal in chalcedony are carved in a single piece and mounted on a precious goldsmith's base adorned with a plant garland in gilded silver (Napoleon III type base).
European private collection, 19th century
Private collection, Switzerland, since the mid 20th century and thence by descent
5 800 €