The portrait represents Hermarchos, the leader of one of the most important Athenian philosophical schools. The neatly combed hair and groomed beard makes him look average – and this is what is so telling: this school (the Garden of Epicuros) instructed the disciples not to look different from their fellow human beings (“live hidden!”). But Hermarchos’ clothing still makes it clear that this is the portrait of an intellectual: he wears only a mantle – the usual attribute of philosophers. The motif of the curved, puckered forehead is indicative of intellectual effort.
Marble analyses conducted by Danielle Decrouez (Geneva, Museum of Natural History) and Karl Ramseyer (University of Bern, Institute of Geological Sciences) have shown that the bust was made of Pentelic marble. Click here for the detailed results.