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150 - 175. Marble.
Not on display

Until fifty years ago, this head mounted on a large bust in the 17th century was considered a portrait of Alexander the Great. He looks emphatically upwards with his mouth open in an expression of pathos. His long curls brushed upwards from his forehead form an anastole and curl under the edge of his helmet. After Blanco expressed doubts about its interpretation as Achilles in 1957, a series of conjectures led to its identification by E. Berger in 1967 as the male head in a statue of Achilles and Penthesilea of which only fragments remain. Besides a version of Achilles´ head in Rome, which may be original, the group has only parts of Roman replicas. There are five copies of Achilles´ head, each with an Attic parade helmet with an added point and a well-curled volute at the level of the ears. The most noticeable aspect of the figure´s curls is a cowlick on the right side of the forehead, with rising and falling curls whose tangles form waves that flank the left side of his face. On his right profile, the curls wind outwards to create a roll. The right ear is totally covered and the left shows only a lobe. The rigidity of the flesh on the head and the narrow bridges among the curls on the left profile date this piece from between 150 and 170 A.D. After a period in Christina of Sweden´s collection, it entered the Odescalchi collection. From there, it arrived in Spain and was placed in the church of San Ildefonso (Text from Schröder, S. F.: Catálogo de la escultura clásica, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2004, pp. 186-191).

Schröder, Stephan F., Catálogo de la escultura clásica: Museo del Prado, Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2004, p.186-191

Technical data

Related artworks

Pencil on paper, Mid-XVIIIcentury
Ajello, Eutichio
Inventory number
150 - 175
Height: 75 cm; Width: 77 cm; Base/bottom: 40 cm; Weight: 118.4 Kg
Colección Cristina de Suecia
Royal Collection (Collection of Cristina de Suecia; Collection of Livio Odescalchi; San Ildefonso, Palacio Real, Collection of Felipe V)

Bibliography +

Hübner, Emil, Die Antiken Bildwerke in Madrid, Druck Und Verlag Von Georg Reimer, Berlín, 1862, pp. 114.

Barrón, Eduardo, Catálogo de la escultura. Museo Nacional de Pintura y Escultura., Imprenta y fototipia J. Lacoste, Madrid, 1908, pp. 93, n.110.

Ricard, Robert, Marbres Antiques du Musee du Prado a Madrid, Feret & Fils, Burdeos, 1923, pp. 82.

Blanco, Antonio, Catálogo de la escultura, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 1957, pp. 78.

Blanco, Antonio; Lorente, Manuel, Catálogo de la escultura. Museo del Prado, Patronato Nacional de Museos, Madrid, 1981, pp. nº110.

Elvira Barba, Miguel Angel, Cristina de Suecia en el Museo del Prado, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1997, pp. 66.

Elvira Barba, Miguel Ángel, El Cuaderno de Ajello y las esculturas del Museo del Prado, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1998, pp. 170.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Escultura clásica: guía, Fundación Marcelino Botín; Museo del Prado, Santander, 1999, pp. 190.

Schröder, Stephan F., Catálogo de la escultura clásica: Museo del Prado, II, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2004, pp. 186-191.

Alejandro Magno : encuentro con Oriente : Centro de Exposici..., Canal Isabel II, 2010, pp. 425.

Corona y arqueología en el Siglo de las Luces, Patrimonio Nacional, 2010, pp. 85-93.

Elvira Barba, Miguel Angel, Las esculturas de Cristina de Suecia: un tesoro de la Corona de España, Real Academia de Historia, Madrid, 2011, pp. 38-39,76 / 112-113.

Other inventories +

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 345.
345. Un busto de marmol de Carrara sin base, sobre un pedestal de lo mismo que representa a Alejandro Magno. / Alto del busto 2 pies, 8 pulg. / Id. del pedestal 3 pies y 6 pulg.

Inscriptions +

Inscribed in black. On the front

Exhibitions +

Arte y mito. Los dioses del Prado
15.10.2020 - 14.03.2021

Alejandro Magno. El encuentro de oriente y occidente
03.12.2010 - 03.05.2011

Update date: 11-11-2022 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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