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Portrait of Plato

Unknowncopy after a Greek original of the mid-fourth century BCE

Neues Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Neues Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

The great philosopher Plato (428–349 BC) enjoyed high esteem for many centuries. He came from a distinguished Athenian family, studied for eight years as one of Sokrates’ pupils before his teacher died in 399 BC, and always wrote Sokrates into his dialogues as a central character. Between 388 and 385 BC, Plato founded his own school of philosophy in Athens. This famous Academy strove to create an intellectual community joining teachers and students [...]. The bronzeworker Silanion is said to have made a statue of Plato that was displayed in the Academy after the philosopher’s death; In the 1930s Anton Hekler reconstructed the seated statue out of a small figure later lost. The some seventeen copies of the type were identified thanks to the inscription on the Berlin herm of Plato, currently exhibited as part of the Roman villa display on the upper floor of the Altes Museum.
This head of Plato is arresting for its clear structure, its soft and balanced form, and its concentrated expression. A long, thick beard frames the dignified face. The face is dominated by a knitted brow and a small mouth with tightlyclosed lips, markers of intellectual concentration and determination. Made in the first half of the first century AD, this head counts as one of the most impressive extant portraits of the philosopher [...].

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  • Title: Portrait of Plato
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: copy after a Greek original of the mid-fourth century BCE
  • Provenance: Acquired in 1932 from a private collection in Vienna.
  • Type: Sculpture Fragment
  • Medium: Pentelic Marble
  • Inv. no.: Sk 1854
  • ISIL no.: DE-MUS-814319
  • External Link: Neues Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Copyright: Photo © Antikensammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Johannes Laurentius. || Text © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, The Antikensammlung: Altes Museum, Neues Museum, Pergamonmuseum, A publication of the Antikensammlung of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin edited by Agnes Schwarzmaier, Andreas Scholl, and Martin Maischberger, p. 301–302, || Text: Max Kunze, Translation: Stephanie Pearson.
  • Collection: Antikensammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz

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