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Philosopher with the head of Pseudo-Seneca
Roman Sculptor; Anonymous
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Roman Sculptor

Philosopher with the head of Pseudo-Seneca

Ca. 150. White marble.
Galería Jónica Planta Principal Norte

The body is a Roman copy of a Hellenic original from around 270 B.C.E. which may represent a philosopher of the Epicurean school. The head is a Baroque copy of the type known as pseudo-Seneca. It is mentioned for the first time in the collection of Christine of Sweden, where it already appears as a restored effigy of Seneca, and it does not seem to have been altered in any noticeable manner since then. The identification of this work with Seneca seems to have been widespread until the 19th century, when critics cast doubt on its traditional assignment.

The model of the statuette, which is very similar in style to those of Epicurus and Metrodorus, was sculpted at the same time as these, following Epicurus´s death (271/270 B.C.E.). Around 150 A. D. its owner, probably an Epicurean, placed it in his library or lararium.


Technical data

Related artworks

The Philosopher Epicurus
Pencil on paper, Mid-XVIIIcentury
Ajello, Eutichio
Inventory number
Roman Sculptor; Anonymous
Philosopher with the head of Pseudo-Seneca
Ca. 150 (Body); XVII century (Head)
White marble
Height: 56 cm; Width: 23 cm; Base/bottom: 35 cm; Weight: 38.8 Kg
Colección Cristina de Suecia
Royal Collection (Collection of Cristina de Suecia; collection of Livio Odescalchi; Felipe V's collection, Palacio de La Granja de San Ildefonso, Segovia).

Bibliography +

Hübner, Emil, Die Antiken Bildwerke in Madrid, Druck Und Verlag Von Georg Reimer, Berlín, 1862, pp. 86.

Barrón, Eduardo, Catálogo de la escultura. Museo Nacional de Pintura y Escultura., Imprenta y fototipia J. Lacoste, Madrid, 1908, pp. 124, n.160.

Ricard, Robert, Marbres Antiques du Musee du Prado a Madrid, Feret & Fils, Burdeos, 1923, pp. 70.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de la escultura, Madrid, 1957, pp. 93.

Blanco, Antonio; Lorente, Manuel, Catálogo de la escultura. Museo del Prado, Patronato Nacional de Museos, Madrid, 1981, pp. nº160.

Schröder, Stephan F., Catálogo de la escultura clásica: Museo del Prado, I, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 1993, pp. 74-76.

Walker, Stefanie, The sculpture Gallery of the prince Livio Odescalchi, Journal of the history of collections, 6, 2, 1994, pp. 189-219.

Elvira Barba, Miguel Ángel, El Cuaderno de Ajello y las esculturas del Museo del Prado, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1998, pp. nº47.

Bajo el signo de Fortuna: esculturas clásicas del Museo del Prado, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 1999, pp. 96.

Borea, Evelina, L'idea del bello: viaggio per Roma nel seicento con Giovan P, Edizioni de Luca, Roma, 2000.

Luxan Rodriguez, Elena, Bibliotheca Alexandrina : Homenaje a la Memoria, Apuesta por..., Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid, 2003.

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. 41,76 / 120-121.

Other inventories +

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 426.
Una estatua de marmol de Carrara que repre / senta á Seneca sentado. / Alto 2. pies.

Inscriptions +

Cross of Burgundy or Cross of Saint Andrew, collection’s mark belonging to Felipe V. On the right side

Inscribed in black. Plinth

M.N.PRADO / 000160
Scrap of paper. Plinth

Exhibitions +

Bibliotheca Alexandrina
09.07.2003 - 21.09.2003

Roma Antica e Moderna. Il Seicento de Bellori
28.03.2000 - 26.06.2000

Bajo el signo de la fortuna. Esculturas antiguas del Museo del Prado
26.04.1999 - 23.05.1999

El cuaderno de Ajello y las esculturas del Museo del Prado
19.10.1998 - 03.01.1999

Location +

Galería Jónica Planta Principal Norte (On Display)

Update date: 21-05-2022 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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