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Portrait of the comic poet Menander
Anonymous
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Portrait of the comic poet Menander

First half of the I century. White marble. Not on display

Menander (Athens, 342-293 B.C.) has not been treated fairly by posterity, as almost all the one hundred plays he wrote have been lost. They are known to us, however, through the Roman playwright Plautus, who used them as inspiration for his comedies. The ancient Romans so admired Menander that more than seventy-two Roman-period copies of his portrait are still extant, although they were identified as being the likeness of the Greek poet only thirty years ago. Menander was an Athenian citizen of means. A fastidious dresser, he was known to enjoy spending money on his appearance. His portrait is one of the first representations of a cleanshaven man after the new fashion introduced by Alexander the Great. A recently reconstructed seated statue, whose head was probably the model for this replica, shows the poet dressed in an expensive and ample garment. Its original pedestal, found not long ago in the theater of Dionysus in Athens, bears an inscription indicating that the statue was made by the artists Kephisodotos and Timarchos, sons of the famous sculptor Praxiteles. It was finished shortly after Menander´s death. The Prado replica shows the poet to have been cross-eyed. The herm added by order of Azara bears a modern Greek inscription, indicating that the owner believed this to be a portrait of Aristotle (Text drawn from Shröeder, Stephan, The Majesty of Spain, Jackson, Mississippi, 2001, p. 115).

The Majesty of Spain. Royal collections from the Museo del Prado and the Patrimonio Nacional presented by The Mississippi Commission for International Cultural Exchange, Jackson, Mississipi Commission For International Cultural Exchange, 2001, p.115

Technical data

Inventory number
E000081
Author
Anonymous
Title
Portrait of the comic poet Menander
Date
First half of the I century
Technique
Sculpted
Medium
White marble
Dimension
Height: 42 cm.; Width: 28 cm.; Base/bottom: 23 cm.; Weight: 41.4 Kg.
Provenance
Azara Collection. In the Royal Collection since 1801.

Bibliography +

Hubner, Emil, Die Antiken Bildwerke in Madrid, Druck Und Verlag Von Georg Reimer, Berlín, 1862, pp. 101.

Barrón, Eduardo, Catálogo de la Escultura, Imprenta y fototipia de J. Lacoste, Madrid, 1908, pp. 74, n.81.

Ricard, Robert, Marbres Antiques du Musee du Prado a Madrid, Feret & Fils, Burdeos, 1923, pp. 81.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de las esculturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1949, pp. 103.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de la Escultura, por A. Blanco, Madrid, 1957, pp. 63.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de la Escultura, Patronato Nacional de Museos, Madrid, 1981.

Schröder, Stephan F., Catálogo de la escultura clásica: Museo del Prado, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 1993, pp. 59-61.

Bajo el signo de Fortuna: esculturas clásicas del Museo del Prado, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 1999, pp. 90.

Las criaturas de Prometeo: esculturas clásicas del Museo del Prado, Fundación Marcelino Botín, Santander, 2000, pp. 88.

The Majesty of Spain. Royal collections from the Museo del Prado and the Patrimonio Nacional presented by The Mississippi Commission for International Cultural Exchange, Mississipi Commission For International Cultural Exchange, Jackson, 2001, pp. 115.

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

Mitologia i creació :el poeta i els seus déus a l' Antiguita..., Fundació '' La Caixa'', Barcelona, 2005.

Schröder, Stephan, 'Azara como promotor de las artes y coleccionismo de arte clásico: la colección de escultura clásica de Azara'. En:, Mengs y Azara : el retrato de una amistad, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2013, pp. 30-34 [33-34] n. 21.

Elvira Barba, Miguel Angel, 'Winckelmann, Mengs y las colecciones escultóricas de Azara.' En:, El legado de Johann Joachim Winckelmann en España. Actas congreso internacional 20-21 Oct.2011, 2014, pp. 121-136 [130].

Other inventories +

Inv. Real Museo, Escultura, 1857. Núm. 54.
54. Cabeza de Aristoteles de marmol de Carrara. / Alto 1 pie, 8 pulgadas.

Inscriptions +

ARISTOTELES [en caracteres griegos]
Incised. On the front

81
Inscribed in black. On the front

LAOBRANOTIENETRANSCRIPCIONES

Exhibitions +

Mengs and Azara. Portrait of a Friendship
Madrid
03.07.2013 - 27.10.2013

El poeta y sus dioses. La mitología de la inspiración creadora
Lérida
09.05.2006 - 23.07.2006

El poeta y sus dioses. La mitología de la inspiración creadora
Gerona
14.02.2006 - 17.04.2006

Bibliotheca Alexandrina
Madrid
09.07.2003 - 21.09.2003

Tha majesty of spain. Royal collections from the Museo del Prado & patrimonio nacional (La majestad de España)
Jackson MS
01.03.2001 - 03.09.2001

Las criaturas de Prometeo. Bajo el signo de la Fortuna. Esculturas antiguas del Museo del Prado
Santander
17.03.2000 - 23.04.2000

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

Update date: 24-09-2021 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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