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Museum of Classical Archaeology Databases

Head of Menelaos

This is the head of a larger group (known as the Pasquino group, so named after the provenance of one of the other fragments, a shoemaker’s shop in Rome) showing Menelaos dragging the corpse of Patroklos from the battlefields of Troy. There was a vogue around this time for large group sculptures, in this case a pyramidal composition with this head at its top. The helmet is decorated with battle scenes of Herakles fighting centaurs. Group compositions provided more scope for the telling of a story, here a scene from Homer’s Iliad.

Roman copy of a Pergamene original. The flamboyant hair and massive muscles are features of a ‘baroque’ East Greek style, also seen in the Laocoon and the Great Altar of Pergamon

Number: 
369
Material: 
Marble
Location of Original: 

Rome, Vatican, Sala dei Busti 311

Size: 
0.86m
References: 

Lippold: Griechische Plastik, 362 (n.17), pl. 122.2 (reconstruction)
Amelung: Catalogue of the Vatican Museum II (1908), 311, pls. 68 & 73
Brunn-Bruckmann: Denkmäler Griechischer und Römischer Skulptur, pl. 237
Dickins: Hellenistic Sculpture (1920), pl. 36 (for original group)
Pollitt: Art in the Hellenistic Age, 118, pl. 119

Date: 
Roman. Original: 240-230 BCE
Provenance: 

Said to have been found in the Villa of Hadrian at Tivoli

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