This masterful portrait bust represents a vigorous middle-aged man who turns his head slightly to his right and stares into the distance with a critical, penetrating gaze. The broad, square face is carefully modeled; wide furrows cut into the low forehead and at the corners of the eyes, adding to the intensity of the expression. One assumes that the sitter was a contemporary man in the guise of a thinker rather than this being a portrait of a practicing philosopher. The style of the sculpture is firmly rooted in the Hadrianic tradition (A.D. 117-138), but the elegant, restrained calm associated with the best Hadrianic production has been replaced by expressive, forceful agitation, a trait first encountered in the Antonine period (A.D. 138-192). The work is a splendid example of psychological portraiture and exudes a sense of abrupt nervousness that finds close parallels in other Antonine characterizations.
The back of the bust has not been hollowed out to provide for a supporting pillar and base. Moreover, the lower edge of the bust approximates the segment of a circle close to two feet in diameter. One may thus conclude that the bust was an imago clipeata (circular portrait bust), originally framed within a circular molding and intended to be viewed from below.