The 'Bust of Homer' at the British Museum is a Roman artifact, originating from either the 1st or 2nd century AD. Contrary to initial belief, it is not a product of the Hellenistic period but is instead designed after its classical models. This influence underscores the Roman admiration for Greek culture, as depicted in artistic conventions.
Carved from white marble, the piece measures approximately 60-70 cm in height, characterized by its precise and accurate rendition of facial and anatomical details.
The bust represents Homer, the reputed author of epic poems the Iliad and the Odyssey. Acknowledged as a prominent figure and intellectual in the ancient world, Homer's influence in the arts is enduring and significant.
Sculptural details such as the lined forehead and cheeks, recessed eyes, and a pronounced sagging chin are elements that signify wisdom and scholarly aptitude associated with the poet. Additional features like the detailed hair and beard demonstrate the advanced skills of the sculptor. The deep-set eyes of the bust suggest blindness, a commonly accepted trait of Homer.
The bust's authenticity as a portrait of the poet is supported by the tradition of displaying busts of significant poets in libraries and cultural institutions, a practice that continued until the peak of the Roman Empire. These artworks serve as invaluable resources for historians, contributing to our understanding of the progression of art and culture over centuries.