Septimius Severus

Bronze portrait of Septimius Severus

Published 5 July 2023

The Turkish Embassy has contacted the Glyptotek to discuss the possible repatriation of a bronze portrait of the Roman emperor Septimius Severus.

Previous research by the museum led to the conclusion that the head of the emperor matches a torso, which the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, USA recently returned to Turkey. However, for many years experts have doubted the veracity of this claim. The doubt arises from the fact that there is no evidence that the fracture surfaces of the head and body fit together. Thus is due to the fact that the former investigations have not been documented.

As a state-recognised museum, the Glyptotek is obliged to abide by the Danish Consolidated Act on Museums and to provide necessary documentation if a work is to be separated from the museum’s collection. Existing knowledge about the Septimius Severus work stems from more than 40 years ago. Consequently, we are holding discussions with the Turkish Embassy about conducting a series of new technical investigations that meet modern standards.

This new research will form the basis for an assessment of whether the work should be repatriated. It should be emphasised that this is not the decision of the Glyptotek alone. The Danish Agency for Culture and Palaces and Ministry of Culture Denmark must be involved in any further discussion regarding the possible repatriation of the work.

The Glyptotek has already embarked upon their investigations and is looking forward to clarifying the matter.

For more information contact