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Fragment of a foot with sandal on base

A left foot clad in a tight open toe boot is firmly planted on the rough surface of the statue's base. The meticulous sense of detail and adept modelling of both the human flesh and leather texture of the boot indicate this was the work of a highly skilled sculptor.

To the ancient Romans, footwear said much about the person wearing it. Different shoes were used for wearing inside and outside, some for togas and others for mantels, certain shoes were worn by the military and others by civilians. Respectable people would know what type of shoe to wear in any circumstance. Simple types were made out of one piece of leather, whereas more complex shoes had a highly sophisticated cutting pattern that consisted of separate uppers and multiple layers of soles. There was not much difference in the style of footwear as worn by men and women.

While both men and women wore ankle-high boots, this type of shoe is very similar to the boots worn by the emperor Hadrian (reign 117 - 138 A.D.) as represented in the cuirassed statue from Hierapytna (Crete). The cuirassed attire emphasizes the emperor's abilities as a military commander. A similar statue of his predecessor, the emperor Trajan (reign 98 - 117 A.D.), features the same open toe boot. However, this type of boot was not solely linked to military persons, as two statues of the god Asklepios in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens are shod with comparable footwear.

Literature

- 100 Masterpieces of the National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden, Leiden 2009.

- CROOM A., Roman Clothing and Fashion, Chalford 2010.

- KALTSAS N., Sculpture in the National Archaeological Museum, Athens, Los Angeles 2002.

- KLEINER D.E.E., Roman Sculpture, New Haven 1992.

- PASINLI A., Istanbul Archaeological Museums, Istanbul 2005.

- RAMAGE N.H. & RAMAGE A., Roman Art : Romulus to Constantine, New Jersey 2005.

- ZANKER P., Roman Art, Los Angeles 2010.

Object information

Material:
White marble
Date and place:
Western European Roman Empire, 1st century BC - 1st century AD
Dimensions:
23 x 49 x 34 cm
Provenance:
Bruun Rasmussen Copenhagen, 21 September 2016, lot 376; Private collection of Captain Harald de Neergaard (1855 - 1925), acquired during a trip to Rome by the end of the 19th century; Thence by descent.

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