Head of an aged Centaur

Testa di Centauro
Roman copy of an original from the 2nd century B.C.
Material and technique: 
Asiatic marble
Purchased in Rome
Inv. MB 179

This head, with its tortured expression, derives from a statue of an elderly centaur who had a little cupid perched on his back. The original work, created in the 2nd century B.C., was an allegory of the pangs of love that torment old age, in contrast to the amorous joys of youth (symbolized by a laughing young centaur). The best copies of these works are the gray marble sculptures signed by Aristeas and Papias of Aphrodisia, discovered at Hadrian’s Villa near Tivoli, and now at the Capitoline Museums.

The hall

These two little rooms display fine copies of Greek sculptures from the early Hellenistic period, together with a number of archaic works.