The art-loving Roman Emperor Hadrian created a number of images of his beloved Antinous, and like all the others, this one is characterised by the soft smooth flesh and rather melancholy expression.
This heavily damaged cast is a fragment of an overall larger marble relief depicting Antinous as Silvanus, the god of woods and fields, harvesting grapes. Antinous wears a pine wreath and the exomis, the Greek tunic fastened over the left shoulder only. In the full image, he is accompanied by a found and carries grapes in his left hand.
Largely thanks to the lavish praise of the art historian Wickelmann, it very rapidly became one of the most celebrated of Roman sculptures; plaster casts of it were easily available too, which helped spread its fame further.
Antinous died in 130 AD and Hadrian in 138, so the likely date of the relief is between the two.
On the original work, the maker's name is inscribed in greek: "Antonianos of Aphrodisias made this'. The work was found in the area of Torre del Padiglione, between Anzio and Lanuvio. Found in 1907. Housed in the Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, Rome.