I’ve previously highlighted examples of Roman sculpture that were less than aesthetically pleasing. Here’s another case that I recently came across while doing some reading on Roman sculpture in the Levant. This one is even a bit scary, especially the eyes. The sculpture in question is a bust in a tondo depicting Pan. I had not seen a tondo of Pan before, so it was quite an interesting find! It originally comes from Ashkalon in Israel and is today in the Rockefeller Museum (previously the Palestine Archaeological Museum) in Jerusalem. It is considered a product of the workshop of Aphrodisias and thus must have been imported from Asia Minor. Yikes! (Images from Vermeule & Anderson 1981: figs. 20-21).
Vermeule, C. & Anderson, K., 1981. “Greek and Roman Sculpture in the Holy Land.” The Burlington Magazine, 123(934): 7-19.
The Rockefeller Museum must be one of the worst museums I have ever visited. Artefacts were dumped almost higgeldy-piggeldy in dimly-lit and dusty glass cases. Some items were just lying around on the floor. Almost nothing was labeled, there were no explanatory booklets. When I visited two years ago, I was the only person there all afternoon. This is the place where Israel dumps items that cannot somehow be connected with the Glorious State, are not stupendously spectacular, or are Islamic artefacts. The building itself is very nice, and dates to the British Mandate.
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