The head was named after the former owner Olivier Rayet – the Rayet Head – and was the first work of ancient art in Carl Jacobsen’s collection.
Originally the head belonged to the statue of a young man. This kouros type could represent a mortal as well as a god and was placed in a sanctuary or on a tomb.
In early Greek art there is an interest in simplicity and a striving towards an understanding of anatomy. The Rayet Head is a fine example of this development.
Technically the sculptor is not yet able to free the figure from the marble block. The transition between lips and cheek is difficult and results in the “archaic smile”.