This is a copy of a bust of a young Marcus Aurelius, housed in the Capitoline Museums (Inv. Scu 279). The work is cut off under the chest and dressed in a tunic and military cloak (paludamentum).
The portrait belongs to the so-called "first type", known from about 25 copies and likely created right after AD 139, when the prince took the title of "Caesar".
Busts with paludamentum were in fashion and widespread from the Antonine period, while the use of a thin line to indicate the pupil without using a drill hole is peculiar. This youth portrait became the model for private portraits and for the official youth portraits of Caracalla (see KAS1234)
The face, turned towards the right, shows the typical features of a young future Emperor: very smooth and firm face planes, elongated and wide eyes, full and closed lips. The hair is arranged in a lively style with wavy locks that overlap each other on multiple planes and follow the outline of the skullcap; there are unruly locks on his forehead.
In the latter case there might have been the intention to associate the two young princes, Caracalla and Marcus Aurelius, in accordance with the politics of Septimius Severus to become part of the Antonine family in order to legitimate his dynasty.
The work, perhaps created in 139, was probably found in Rome.