Brutus Capitolinus

Inv. Scu 1183

Originally belonging to a statue, the head broken at the neck was identified in 1550 with Lucius Junius Brutus, first consul of the Roman Republic. It is made of bronze and was cast in two moulds, the eyes are made of ivory globes and the iris and pupil of cornelian.

Main cornerstone of the so-called «mid-Italic» portraiture that established itself in the Republican period, the portrait shares common characteristics with central-Italic votive heads but also with examples of Greek portraiture.

In order to make stylistic comparisons, the rendering of the features of the portrait was analysed, which some scholars believe are not perfectly coherent with each other: the hair with locks on the forehead, the closed mouth, the thick eyebrows, the working technique with the skullcap made separately, the use of guidelines for the outline of the beard, the flattened hairstyle.

The head, of unknown provenance, was donated to the Roman people in 1564 after the death of the owner, Cardinal Rodolfo Pio da Carpi, who had moved to Rome in 1537.

The identification of this strongly expressive work is still hypothetical, the chronology has been the subject of much discussion, with attributions varying between the 4th-3rd century BC, the 1st century BC and the Augustan period.