Getty Caligula
Getty Caligula inv. 72.AA.155

Getty Caligula
Getty Caligula

Getty Caligula
Getty Caligula

 
Getty Caligula
Getty Caligula

Ny Carlsberg Caligula inv. 2687

Ny Carlsberg Caligula inv. 1453

 
Louvre Caligula
Louvre Caligula inv. MA 1234

Louvre Caligula
Louvre Caligula

Louvre Caligula
Louvre Caligula

 
Louvre Caligula
Louvre Caligula

Louvre Caligula
Louvre Caligula

Louvre Caligula
Louvre Caligula

 
Palazzo Massimo Caligula
Palazzo Massimo Caligula, Terme inv. 4256

Palazzo Massimo Caligula
Palazzo Massimo Caligula

Palazzo Massimo Caligula
Palazzo Massimo Caligula

 
Palazzo Massimo Caligula
Palazzo Massimo Caligula

Met Caligula
Met Caligula, inv 14.37

Met Caligula
Met Caligula

 
Met Caligula
Metropolitan Museum of Art  Caligula

Met Caligula
Met Caligula

Met Caligula
Met Caligula

 
Met Caligula
Met Caligula

Met Caligula
Met Caligula coiffure detail

Miniature bronze head of Caligula
Miniature bronze portrait, Met. inv. 25.78.35

 
Smaller-than-life bronze portrait of Caligula
Small bronze portrait, Met. inv. 23.160.23

Smaller-than-life bronze portrait of Caligula
Small bronze portrait, Met. inv. 23.160.23

Smaller-than-life bronze portrait of Caligula
Small bronze portrait, Met. inv. 23.160.23

 
Richmond Caligula
Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA, inv. 71-20

Richmond Caligula
Richmond Caligula

Richmond Caligula
Richmond Caligula

 
Worcester Caligula
Worcester Caligula, inv. 1914.23

Worcester Caligula
Worcester Caligula

Worcester Caligula
Worcester Caligula

 
Worcester Caligula
Worcester Caligula

Worcester Caligula
Worcester Caligula

Yale Caligula
Yale Caligula, inv. 1.1963


Based on traces of paint found on the marble, scholars have come up with garish versions of how these Caligula portraits originally appeared. I think theyfre grossly wrong. It appears that having found remnants of a stubborn primer or undercoat, they assumed that a single color covered a large surface with no shading at all. This is odd, because ancient frescoes occasionally do depict statues in a garden, and when such scenes depict statues, the statues show subtle, realistic colors.



Scholars argue over Gaiusfs (Caligulafs) hair and eye color. We have a few hints from ancient literature and a few more from pigments remnants on his marble portraits. Here are some candidates.

Marble portrait of Caligula
Painted Caligula, dark hair

Marble portrait of Caligula
Painted Caligula, red hair

Marble portrait of Caligula
Painted Caligula, light hair, blue eyes





Suetonius on Caligula's nickname and early life:

It was to the jokes of the soldiers in the camp that he owed the name of Caligula, he having been brought up among them in the dress of a common soldier. How much his education amongst them recommended him to their favour and affection, was sufficiently apparent in the mutiny upon the death of Augustus, when the mere sight of him appeased their fury, though it had risen to a great height. For they persisted in it, until they observed that he was sent away to a neighbouring city, to secure him against all danger. Then, at last, they began to relent, and, stopping the chariot in which he was conveyed, earnestly deprecated the odium to which such a proceeding would expose them.

He likewise attended his father in his expedition to Syria. After his return, he lived first with his mother, and, when she was banished, with his great-grandmother, Livia Augusta, in praise of whom, after her decease, though then only a boy, he pronounced a funeral oration in the Rostra. He was then transferred to the family of his grandmother, Antonia, and afterwards, in the twentieth year of his age, being called by Tiberius to Capri, he in one and the same day assumed the manly habit, and shaved his beard, but without receiving any of the honours which had been paid to his brothers on a similar occasion. While he remained in that island, many insidious artifices were practised, to extort from him complaints against Tiberius, but by his circumspection he avoided falling into the snare. He affected to take no more notice of the ill-treatment of his relations, than if nothing had befallen them. With regard to his own sufferings, he seemed utterly insensible of them, and behaved with such obsequiousness to his grandfather and all about him, that it was justly said of him, gThere never was a better servant, nor a worse master.h

But he could not even then conceal his natural disposition to cruelty and lewdness. He delighted in witnessing the infliction of punishments, and frequented taverns and bawdy-houses in the night-time, disguised in a periwig and a long coat; and was passionately addicted to the theatrical arts of singing and dancing. All these levities Tiberius readily connived at, in hopes that they might perhaps correct the roughness of his temper, which the sagacious old man so well understood, that he often said, gThat Caius was destined to be the ruin of himself and all mankind; and that he was rearing a hydra for the people of Rome, and a Phaeton for all the world.h


Dio Cassius on Caligula:

For Gaius invariably went so by contraries in every matter, that he not only emulated but even surpassed his predecessor's licentiousness and bloodthirstiness, for which he used to censure him, whereas of the qualities he praised in the other he imitated not one. Though he had been the first to insult him and the first to abuse him, so that others, thinking to please him in this way, indulged in rather reckless freedom of speech, he later lauded and magnified Tiberius, even going so far as to punish some for what they had said. These, as enemies of the former emperor, he hated for their abusive remarks; and he hated equally those who in any way praised Tiberius, as being the other's friends. Though he put an end to the charges of maiestas, he nevertheless made these the cause of a great many persons' downfall. Again, though, according to his own account, he had given up his anger against those who had conspired against his father and mother and brothers, and even burned their letters, he yet put to death great numbers of them on the strength of those letters. He did, it is true, actually destroy some letters, but they were not the originals containing the absolute proof, but rather copies that he had made. Furthermore, though he at first forbade any one to set up images of him, he even went on to manufacture statues himself; and though he once requested the annulment of a decree ordering sacrifices to be offered to this Fortune, and even caused this action of his to be inscribed on a tablet, he afterwards ordered temples to be erected and sacrifices to be offered to himself as to a god. He delighted by turns in vast throngs of men and in solitude; he grew angry if requests were preferred, and again if they were not preferred. He would display the keenest enthusiasm about various projects, and then carry out certain of them in the most indolent fashion. He would spend money most unsparingly, and at the same time show a most sordid spirit in exacting it. He was alike irritated and pleased, both with those who flattered him and with those who spoke their mind frankly. Many who were guilty of great crimes he neglected to punish, and many who had not even incurred any suspicion of wrong-doing he slew. His associates he either flattered to excess or abused to excess. As a result, no one knew either what to say or how to act toward him, but all who met with any success in this respect gained it as the result of chance rather than of shrewd judgment
.



Ancient sources on Caligula

Cassius Dio - Roman History Book 59
Suetonius - Lives of the Twelve Caesars, Life of Caius Caesar Caligula
Josephus - BOOK XVIII, Chapter 8: Concerning The Embassage Of The Jews To Caius



Portraiture references


J. Paul Getty Museum inventory number 72.AA.155
D. Boschung, Die Bildnisse des Caligula. Das römische Herrscherbild I 4 (Berlin 1989) 110 Cat. no. 12 Pl. 12, 1–4
K. Fittschen – P. Zanker, Katalog der römischen Porträts in den Capitolinischen Museen und den anderen kommunalen Sammlungen der Stadt Rom 1. Kaiser- und Prinzenbildnisse, BeitrESkAr 3 (Mainz 1985) Note 6 Cat. no. 23
D. Hertel, Caligula-Bildnisse vom Typus Fasanerie in Spanien. Ein archäologischer Beitrag zur Geschichte des Kaisers Caius, MM 23, 1982, 272 Cat. no. 24
H. Jucker, Iulisch-claudische Kaiser- und Prinzenporträts als `PalimpsesteL, JdI 96, 1981, 276
A.-K. Massner, Bildnisangleichung. Untersuchungen zur Entstehungs- und Wirkungsgeschichte der Augustusporträts. Das römische Herrscherbild IV (43 v. Chr. - 68 n. Chr.) (Berlin 1982) 113 ff. 125 Pl. 30 d. 31 a
K. Vierneisel – P. Zanker, Die Bildnisse des Augustus. Ausstellungskat. München (1979) 96. 118 Cat. no. 10, 7

Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. Inv. no. 2687
D. Boschung, Die Bildnisse des Caligula. Das römische Herrscherbild I 4 (Berlin 1989) 111 f. Cat. no. 18 Pl. 17. 18, 1–4
L. Fabbrini, Caligola. Il ritratto dell\'adolescenza e il ritratto dell\'apoteosi, RM 73/74, 1966/67, 146
J. Inan – E. Alföldi-Rosenbaum, Römische und frühbyzantinische Porträtplastik aus der Türkei. Neue Funde (Mainz 1979) 69 Cat. no. 15 Pl. 13, 1. 2 14, 1
F. Johansen, Catalogue Roman Portraits I. Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek (1994) 136 f. Cat. no. 56
F. Poulsen, Catalogue of Ancient Sculpture in the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek (Kopenhagen 1951) 445 Cat. no. 637 a
V. Poulsen, Portraits of Caligula, ActaArch 29, 1958, 187 Cat. no. II 3
P. Reuterswärd, Studien zur Polychromie der Plastik (Stockholm 1960) 211 ff. Ill. 33 Pl. 15

Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. Inv. no. 1453
D. Boschung, Die Bildnisse des Caligula. Das römische Herrscherbild I 4 (Berlin 1989) 118 f. Cat. no. 43 Pl. 36, 1–4. 44
D. Hertel, Caligula-Bildnisse vom Typus Fasanerie in Spanien. Ein archäologischer Beitrag zur Geschichte des Kaisers Caius, MM 23, 1982, 277
F. Johansen, The Portraits in Marble of Gaius Julius Caesar: A Review, in: J. Frel – S. Knudsen Morgan (Hrsg.), Ancient Portraits in the J. Paul Getty Museum I (Malibu 1987) 101. 104 Ill. 24
F. Johansen, Catalogue Roman Portraits I. Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek (1994) 134 f. Cat. no. 55
F. Poulsen, Catalogue of Ancient Sculpture in the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek (Kopenhagen 1951) Cat. no. 637

Musée du Louvre. Inv. no. MA 1234
D. Boschung, Die Bildnisse des Caligula. Das römische Herrscherbild I 4 (Berlin 1989) 110 Cat. no. 13 Pl. 13, 1–4. 46, 4
J. Charbonneaux, La sculpture grecque et romaine au Musée du Louvre (Paris 1963) 156 Cat. no. 1234
K. Fittschen – P. Zanker, Katalog der römischen Porträts in den Capitolinischen Museen und den anderen kommunalen Sammlungen der Stadt Rom 1. Kaiser- und Prinzenbildnisse, BeitrESkAr 3 (Mainz 1985) Note 13 Cat. no. 12
D. Hertel, Caligula-Bildnisse vom Typus Fasanerie in Spanien. Ein archäologischer Beitrag zur Geschichte des Kaisers Caius, MM 23, 1982, 272 Cat. no. 22
K. de Kersauson, Musée du Louvre. Catalogue des portraits romains I (1986) 180 f. Cat. no. 84
A.-K. Massner, Bildnisangleichung. Untersuchungen zur Entstehungs- und Wirkungsgeschichte der Augustusporträts. Das römische Herrscherbild IV (43 v. Chr. - 68 n. Chr.) (Berlin 1982) 109. 125 Pl. 25 c
F. Poulsen, Ikonographische Miszellen (1921) 66. 68 f. Ill. 17
V. Poulsen, Portraits of Caligula, ActaArch 29, 1958, 181 f. 184 Ill. 7. 8 Cat. no. 1

Museo Nazionale Romano, Palazzo Massimo, Terme inv. 4256
D. Boschung, Die Bildnisse des Caligula. Das römische Herrscherbild I 4 (Berlin 1989) 112 Cat. no. 19 Pl. 19, 1–4. 46, 3
B. M. Felletti Maj, Museo Nazionale Romano. I Ritratti (Rom 1953) 61 Cat. no. 98
D. Hertel, Caligula-Bildnisse vom Typus Fasanerie in Spanien. Ein archäologischer Beitrag zur Geschichte des Kaisers Caius, MM 23, 1982, 269 Cat. no. 10
H. Jucker, Iulisch-claudische Kaiser- und Prinzenporträts als `PalimpsesteL, JdI 96, 1981, 250 Note 41
R. Lanciani, NSc 1886, 231 f.
R. Paribeni, Le Terme di Diocleziano e il Museo Nazionale Romano (Rom 1932) Cat. no. 962

B. Schneider, Studien zu den kleinformatigen Kaiserportraits von den Anfängen der Kaiserzeit bis ins dritte Jahrhundert (1976) 31 f.

New York Metropolitan Museum of Art inv. 14.37
D. Boschung, Die Bildnisse des Caligula. Das römische Herrscherbild I 4 (Berlin 1989) 119 Cat. no. ?46 Pl. 37, 1–4. 47, 1
D. Hertel, Caligula-Bildnisse vom Typus Fasanerie in Spanien. Ein archäologischer Beitrag zur Geschichte des Kaisers Caius, MM 23, 1982, 266 Note 19
F. Johansen, The Portraits in Marble of Gaius Julius Caesar: A Review, in: J. Frel – S. Knudsen Morgan (Hrsg.), Ancient Portraits in the J. Paul Getty Museum I (Malibu 1987) 106 Ill. 33
A.-K. Massner, Bildnisangleichung. Untersuchungen zur Entstehungs- und Wirkungsgeschichte der Augustusporträts. Das römische Herrscherbild IV (43 v. Chr. - 68 n. Chr.) (Berlin 1982) 111 Note 599
F. Poulsen, Ikonographische Miszellen (1921) 67 f. Pl. 26 ff.
V. Poulsen, Portraits of Caligula, ActaArch 29, 1958, 186 Cat. no. II 1
G. M. A. Richter, Roman Portraits (1948) Cat. no. 36

New York Metropolitan Museum of Art inv. 23.160.23
D. Boschung, Die Bildnisse des Caligula. Das römische Herrscherbild I 4 (Berlin 1989) 115 Cat. no. 31 Pl. 28, 1–4. 47, 2
L. Curtius, RM 49, 1934, 131 f. Ill. 10
D. Hertel, Caligula-Bildnisse vom Typus Fasanerie in Spanien. Ein archäologischer Beitrag zur Geschichte des Kaisers Caius, MM 23, 1982, 273 Cat. no. 27
H. Jucker, Iulisch-claudische Kaiser- und Prinzenporträts als `PalimpsesteL, JdI 96, 1981, 258. 262
V. Poulsen, Portraits of Caligula, ActaArch 29, 1958, 181 Cat. no. 8
G. M. A. Richter, Roman Portraits (1948) Cat. no. 39
B. Schneider, Studien zu den kleinformatigen Kaiserportraits von den Anfängen der Kaiserzeit bis ins dritte Jahrhundert (1976) 40

New York Metropolitan Museum of Art inv. 25.78.35
D. Boschung, Die Bildnisse des Caligula. Das römische Herrscherbild I 4 (Berlin 1989) 114 f. Cat. no. 29 Pl. 26, 5–8
D. Hertel, Caligula-Bildnisse vom Typus Fasanerie in Spanien. Ein archäologischer Beitrag zur Geschichte des Kaisers Caius, MM 23, 1982, 273 Cat. no. 28
L. Pollak – A. Muñoz, Pièces de choix de la collection du Comte G. Stroganoff à Rome (1912) Pl. 25, 2
V. Poulsen, Portraits of Caligula, ActaArch 29, 1958, 181 Cat. no. 9
G. M. A. Richter, Roman Portraits (1948) Cat. no. 40

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts inv. 71-20
D. Boschung, Die Bildnisse des Caligula. Das römische Herrscherbild I 4 (Berlin 1989) 109 f. Cat. no. 117 Pl. 11, 1–4. 42, 1–4. 43
D. Hertel, Caligula-Bildnisse vom Typus Fasanerie in Spanien. Ein archäologischer Beitrag zur Geschichte des Kaisers Caius, MM 23, 1982, 268 Cat. no. 3
H. Jucker, Iulisch-claudische Kaiser- und Prinzenporträts als `PalimpsesteL, JdI 96, 1981, 255. 262
A.-K. Massner, Bildnisangleichung. Untersuchungen zur Entstehungs- und Wirkungsgeschichte der Augustusporträts. Das römische Herrscherbild IV (43 v. Chr. - 68 n. Chr.) (Berlin 1982) 124 Note 688
F. Matz, Antike Bildwerke in Rom mit Ausschluss der grösseren Sammlungen I. Statuen, Hermen, Büsten, Köpfe. Fortgeführt und hrsg. von F. v. Duhn (Leipizig 1881) Cat. no. 1247
J. Ternbach, Art in Virginia 14, 2, 1974, 29 ff.
C. C. Vermeule, Greek and Roman Sculpture in America (Los Angeles 1981) 292 f. Cat. no. 249 Pl. 22

Worcester Art Museum inv. 14.23
K. Fittschen – P. Zanker, Katalog der römischen Porträts in den Capitolinischen Museen und den anderen kommunalen Sammlungen der Stadt Rom 1. Kaiser- und Prinzenbildnisse, BeitrESkAr 3 (Mainz 1985) Note 7 Cat. no. 26
D. Boschung, Die Bildnisse des Caligula. Das römische Herrscherbild I 4 (Berlin 1989) 112 Cat. no. 20 Pl. 20. 21, 1–4
D. Hertel, Caligula-Bildnisse vom Typus Fasanerie in Spanien. Ein archäologischer Beitrag zur Geschichte des Kaisers Caius, MM 23, 1982, 268 Cat. no. 4 Pl. 44 b
Z. Kiss, Lficonographie des princes julio-claudiens au temps dfAuguste et de Tibère (Warschau 1975) 117. 142 Ill. 497. 498
A.-K. Massner, Bildnisangleichung. Untersuchungen zur Entstehungs- und Wirkungsgeschichte der Augustusporträts. Das römische Herrscherbild IV (43 v. Chr. - 68 n. Chr.) (Berlin 1982) 112 Pl. 25 a–c
J. Pollini, JWaltersArtGal 40, 1982, 4. 8 Ill. 15. 16
V. Poulsen, Portraits of Caligula, ActaArch 29, 1958, 185 f. Ill. 13. 14 Cat. no. I
C. C. Vermeule, Greek and Roman Sculpture in America (Los Angeles 1981) 291 Cat. no. 248

Yale University Art Gallery inv. 1.1963
D. Boschung, Die Bildnisse des Caligula. Das römische Herrscherbild I 4 (Berlin 1989) 116 f. Cat. no. 37 Pl. 31. 32, 1–3
D. Hertel, Caligula-Bildnisse vom Typus Fasanerie in Spanien. Ein archäologischer Beitrag zur Geschichte des Kaisers Caius, MM 23, 1982, 265 f. Note 19
F. Johansen, The Portraits in Marble of Gaius Julius Caesar: A Review, in: J. Frel – S. Knudsen Morgan (Hrsg.), Ancient Portraits in the J. Paul Getty Museum I (Malibu 1987) 102. 104 Ill. 27 a. b
H. Jucker, ArtVirg 1973, 2, 20
A.-K. Massner, Bildnisangleichung. Untersuchungen zur Entstehungs- und Wirkungsgeschichte der Augustusporträts. Das römische Herrscherbild IV (43 v. Chr. - 68 n. Chr.) (Berlin 1982) 110 Pl. 27 b. c
V. Poulsen, Portraits of Caligula, ActaArch 29, 1958, 187 f. Ill. 15 f. Cat. no. II 2
B. Schneider, Studien zu den kleinformatigen Kaiserportraits von den Anfängen der Kaiserzeit bis ins dritte Jahrhundert (1976) 39 f.