The bust immortalises one of the great thinkers of the past, whose features also survive in a number of other portraits. The long beard and the finely dishevelled locks of hair are customary motifs of philosopher portraits, showing that maintaining a fashionable appearance is not the main concern of an intellectual.
The bust was allegedly found in a villa together with the portrait of Hermarchos. The two statues made the owner of the villa look not only rich but also educated. The narrow shape of the bust may have seemed old-fashioned at the time – both portraits represent thinkers who had lived many centuries before.
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 Thasian marble. Click here for the detailed results.