This head of Anacreon († c. 500 BCE) is thought to be a Roman copy of the Greek portrait of the archaic Ionian poet which was executed posthumously in the 4th century BCE.
When this marble head arrived in the collection of Nicolaas Rockox in 1622, it was mounted on a plinth bearing the inscription Demosthenes.
It was not until the 20th century that the two parts of this hybrid piece were separated as a result of research undertaken in the 18th and 19th centuries which had revealed that the portrait head and the shaft spuriously identifying it did not belong together. For Rockox, however, the political intelligence, skill and courage of the famous orator († 322 BCE) were the qualities that impressed him as a scholarly humanist.
It was for this reason that it was not only included in his portrait engraved by Vorsterman in 1622, but also assigned pride of place in the painting by Frans Francken II.
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Anacreon (Head) / Demosthenes (Herm), Roman copy after a Greek original
height 46,8 cm, width 22,2 cm, depth 26,2 cm
Nationalmuseum, Stockholm, Inv.-No. NMsk 65
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