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Home>Collection & Louvre Palace>Curatorial Departments>Young Prince from the Antonine Family (Annius Verus?, AD 162-171)

Work Young Prince from the Antonine Family (Annius Verus?, AD 162-171)

Department of Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities: Roman Art

Prince Antoninus (Annius Verus)?
(162-171 BC.)

© 1988 RMN / Pierre et Maurice Chuzeville

Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities
Roman Art

Lepetoukha Charlotte

The double row of laurel leaves tell us that we are in the presence of a portrait of an imperial prince, probably Annius Verus - son of Marcus Aurelius - who was given the title of Caesar at the age of five. The large, protruding eyes with their melancholy expression and the delicate modeling of the flesh are found in other portraits from the same period.

A young prince

This very beautiful portrait depicts a child of about seven. The smooth, slender face, slightly tilted to the right, is brightened by large, dreamy eyes that give the face a serious, melancholy expression. The hair, soberly sculpted in thick plaits that stand in contrast to the tender skin, is wreathed in a double row of laurel leaves.

In the tradition of Antonine portraits

There are notable similarities between this statue and certain portraits from the second half of the second century AD, such as one of Faustina the Younger, wife of Marcus Aurelius (emperor from AD 161-180). One notes the same supple treatment of the smooth skin, which contrasts with the coarse treatment of the hair. Above all, however, it is the treatment of the eyes which allows us to assign this statue to the artistic output created under Marcus Aurelius. The thick lids framing a protruding eyeball in which a slightly irregular pupil has been engraved - giving the gaze a certain lifelike quality - are characteristic of the portraits from this period. In addition, the faraway expression in these faces was meant to contain an echo of the crisis that Roman society was undergoing, shaken by the threats to the empire's borders.

The name behind the portrait

This is very likely a child from the family of Marcus Aurelius. Two of the emperor-philosopher's sons - Commodus and Annius Verus - received the title of Caesar, a rank indicated by the double row of laurel leaves. This is not a portrait of Commodus, whose image is known from other portraits, and it appears that we are in the presence of the young Annius Verus, who was given the title of Caesar and who died six months later.


J. Charbonneaux, "Portraits du temps des Antonins", in Monuments Piot, t. XLIX, Paris 1957, p. 68 sqq., pl. VI
K. de Kersauson, Catalogue des portraits romains, II, Paris, Editions de la Réunion des musées nationaux, 1996, p. 282, n 128

Technical description

  • Prince Antoninus (Annius Verus)?
    (162-171 BC.)

    C. AD 170.

    Provenance: Bone (Algeria)

  • Marble

    H. 21.5 cm

  • Acquired in 1955 , 1955

    N° d'entrée MND 2077 (n° usuel Ma 3539)

  • Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities

    Denon wing
    Ground floor
    Roman art. Rome and the provinces in the 3rd century AD
    Room 413

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