Borghese Anacreon

Borghese Anacreon.jpg

Image: Carlsberg Glypotek I.N. 491

Object description: A full-size standing portrait in marble of a lyric poet. Possibly an emulation of a Greek original, the date of which is debated, though generally thought to be mid-fifth-century. The statue lacks eyes, which would have been inlaid, as well as a lyre (most probably the barbiton), and possibly a plectrum.

Object Archaeology: The Borghese Anacreon was found in 1835 at the Villa of the Brutti Praesentes, on the south-western slope of Monte Calvo, in Sabina. It formed part of the Borghese collection (hence its name) until 1891 when it joined the collection of Carl Jacobsen and the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek.

Inscriptions: None.

Restorations: Among other elements, the left arm was once restored. This was removed in 1951. Several plaster restorations remain including the plinth, left foot and right knee (Richter 1965: 76).

Dimensions: height 1.90 m (Richter 1965)

Examples in major collections (after Richter 1965 with updates): Berlin, Staatliche Museen, Antikensammlung, SK 1455. Copenhagen, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, I.N. 491. Florence, Palazzo Ricardi, Salone dei Marmi, E8. Paris, Louvre, Ma. 656. Rome, Museo Nuovo dei Conservatori, inv. 838. (Inscribed Ἀνακρέον λυρικός, and thus the basis for the identification of the type: IG XIV “IGUR” IV: 1499 = IG XIV: 1132.) Rome, Palazzo Altemps, exhibited on the monumental staircase. Stockholm, Nationalmuseum, NMSk 65A.


  • Brunn, H. 1859. ‘Anacreonte.’ Annali dell'Instituto di corrispondenza archeologica 31: 155-86.
  • Furtwängler, A. (trans. Strong E. S.) 1895. Masterpieces of Greek Sculpture : A Series of Essays on the History of Art. London. 62-3.
  • Richter, G. M. A. 1965. The Portraits of the Greeks I. London. 75-78.
    • and Smith, R. R. R. 1984. The Portraits of the Greeks. London. pp. 84-5.
  • Ridgway, B. S. 1998. ‘An Issue of Methodology: Anakreon, Perikles, Xanthippos.’ American Journal of Archaeology 102 (4): 717-738.
  • Rosenmeyer, P. A. 1992. The Poetics of Imitation : Anacreon and the Anacreontic Tradition. Cambridge.
  • Schefold, K. and Bayard, A.-C. 1997. Die Bildnisse der Antiken Dichter, Redner und Denker. Basel. 101-103.
  • Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, U. v. 1913. Sappho und Simonides : Untersuchungen über greichische Lyriker. Berlin. 105.
  • Zanker, P. 1995. The Mask of Socrates : The Image of the Intellectual in Antiquity (Shapiro, A. trans.). Berkeley. 22-31.