Zur Datierung und Deutung der Chlamysfiguren aus rotem Porphyr

  • Marianne Bergmann University of Göttingen
Keywords: art history, sculpture, statues, tunica- clamys, chlamys, tetrarchs, porphyr,


The article deals with four porphyry statues wearing late antique tunica-chlamys attire in Vienna, Berlin, Ravenna and in the Louvre. By the provenance of two of them and by deals of workmanship they are all clearly linked to the porphyry workshop that the tetrarchs had installed in Egypt. Yet they differ from the main products of this workshop not only by their new costume but also in their overall shape. Whereas the tetrarchs employed local sculptors, who specialized in working hard stone for their new porphyry workshop and the result was a fascinating mixture of imperially commissioned and strong local elements, these chlamydate follow other models of more classical taste. They attest to new imperial instructions given to the workshop. This makes it important to know when this new form of imperial representation was introduced. Suggested dates differ widely this article proposes to date the statues in Ravenna and the Louvre by means of their close typological and stylistic similarities to the statue of Oikoumenios form Aphrodisias, which itself is dated by its portrait, which is the closest known parallel to early Theodosian emperor’s portraits at Aphrodisias and Constantinople. The common link between the locally-produced honorific statues from Aphrodisias, the imperial porphyry workshop in Egypt, and the statue finds in Italy would then be Constantinople, whose sculpture workshops were heavily influenced by those of Aphrodisias. There are reasons to see the statues at Vienna and Berlin as earlier and representing a development o the new iconography. All this seems to correspond with the ideas of U. Gehn and R.R. R. Smith, who posit, that the use of late antique chlamydate and togati for honorific statues developed mainly in the later 4th century and in the east. It may have evolved during and after the reign of Valens, parallel to the intensified lawgiving concerning status marking. There should e parallels to this in the emperor’s ‘Chlamys/Dienstkostüm’. - In the end, there are some remarks on the ‘hand-on-sword’ gesture of the statues.

How to Cite
Bergmann, M. (2019) “Zur Datierung und Deutung der Chlamysfiguren aus rotem Porphyr”, Acta ad archaeologiam et artium historiam pertinentia, 300, pp. 73-113. doi: 10.5617/acta.6867.