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Statue of a Roman Emperor

Statue of a Roman Emperor

3D Image

Statue of an Emperor, 1st or 3rd century CE, Rome, Castel Sant’Angelo, Bronze. Made with ReMake and ReCap Pro from AutoDesk.

(Rome, Palazzo Barberini, Palazzo Sciarra, Brussels, Somzée collection, acq 1904)

This magnificent large bronze was provided as early as the 17th century CE with a modern head of Emperor Septimius Severus (193-211). It originally represented or the personification of the Roman people (Genius Populi Romani) or more likely an emperor, unfortunately unidentifiable given the loss of the portrait.

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Roman Statues

Roman statues adorn the public centers, museums, and galleries of the capital city of Italy, and give visitors insight into days gone by when the Roman Empire was commanding a massive and growing empire. Ancient Roman statues owe much in the way of artistic and practical inspiration to the Greeks, who they relied upon and borrowed from heavily when it came to sculpture and other mediums within the arts. This does not detract from the art itself. In fact, it can be said that the Greeks before the Romans borrowed decidedly from the Egyptians, so the lineage continues.

There are a wide selection of famous statues in Rome including that of St. Peter in the Basilica that honors his name and personage. The bronze statue of a seated St. Peter in St. Peter's Basilica is so popular and contains so much sentimental and religious value to adherents of the Catholic faith, that the bronze toes on the statue have worn down over the centuries from people making a practice of touching them. Another of the most formidable and impressive statues is that of Constantine in the Palazzo dei Conservatori. The size and scope alone will impress you and it is housed in one of Rome's finest buildings. Bernini is perhaps the most omnipresent sculptor in Rome and his artwork can be found in basilicas, public fountains, and more all around Rome (many of his pieces also get a lot of attention in Dan Brown books).

What needs to be noted before taking a look at some of the most impressive Roman Emperor statues and the unbelievable statues of Roman gods is that Rome did in fact put their own spin on portrait sculpture. Whereas the Greeks would sculpt the individual in their perfected or idealized form, the Romans focused on bringing a greater degree of realism into the mix, often painting even the most undesirable features of a person in the spirit of producing as close a replica as humanly possible. So, as you dive further into the history of Roman statues and portraiture, especially if you are planning a trip to Rome, you will be equipped with a better understanding of the genuine contributions that Romans made to the world of art at the time. It is thought that the realistic portrayal of peoples&rsquo faces in ancient Roman statues must have taken its roots when wealthy aristocrats had terra-cotta busts of their ancestors made when they died.

Rome Map

Rome conquered Greece around the year 146 BC and it is then when we begin to see a greater flurry of artistic development. Wealthy aristocrats would commission artists to develop Roman statues in the style of the Greek works that were brought back to Rome. Roman Emperor statues became common after Julius Caesar was appointed &ldquoImperator&rdquo (where the modern word &ldquoemperor&rdquo comes from) by the Roman Senate in the year 44 BC. These were no ordinary Roman statues, but rather some of the most beautiful sculpting done at the time. And yet, it is quite interesting to note that, even with the high volume of Ancient Roman statues and the number of Roman Emperor statues that have been maintained over the centuries, few of the artists&rsquo names have been recorded. This sheds even more light on the role that art played within the greater context of Roman society in which status and wealth was of great import. Roman statues were often commissioned to essentially show off one&rsquos status in society and bring recognition to their family. Even in the case of some of the most impressive of all the Roman Emperor statues, we do not know exactly who did the work.

If you are planning a trip to Rome, you will have plenty of opportunities to see the wide array of Roman sculptures, sarcophagi, reliefs, and architecture, all of which will amaze you, given the fact that much of the rest of the world at the time was still living in relative darkness.


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RELATED ARTICLES

Pictured: Giampietro Campana, the Marchese di Cavelli, who once owned the finger of the bronze colossus of Constantine

The long-lost index finger was part of a collection acquired by the Louvre in 1863 from the Italian banker and art collector Giampietro Campana, who had amassed one of 19th century’s greatest collections of Roman and Greek antiquities.

'Napoleon III's acquisition of most of the Campana collection considerably enriched the collections of the Louvre,' noted Capitoline Museums director Françoise Gaultier.

With the forefinger having been confused for a toe in 1913, however, it would take over a century until Ms Azéma — who was conducting research into the ancient manufacturing techniques used on large bronze statues — realised the mistake.

The scale of the finger suggested that it must have once belonged to a statue around 40 feet tall, which brought Constantine's colossus to mind.

After a resin reconstruction of the the digit was proven to fit on the colossus' hand in June that year, this Wednesday saw the real thing mounted back in its proper place, as pictured

The long-lost index finger was part of a collection acquired by the Louvre in 1863 from the Italian banker and art collector Giampietro Campana, who had amassed one of 19th century’s greatest collections of Roman and Greek antiquities. Pictured: the Louvre's main courtyard

'A non-invasive, reversible and invisible system' was used to 'perfectly' restore the bronze index finger onto the statue's hand (as pictured), Capitoline Museums director Claudio Parisi Presicce told the Italian newspaper Il Messaggero

While experts believe that it was forged in around 330 AD, the exact origins of the gilded colossus remain somewhat of a mystery.

The first description of the statue's fragments dates back to the middle of the 12th century, when they reportedly stood on pillars outside of the Lateran Palace in Rome.

The remains go on to be mentioned in several medieval and 15th century chronicles — and the head and the then-still-intact hand, holding the globe, were depicted in a drawing dated to 1465.

While experts believe that it was forged in around 330 AD, the origins of the colossus remain somewhat of a mystery. The first description of the statue's fragments dates back to the 12th century, when they reportedly stood on pillars outside of the Lateran Palace in Rome, pictured

According to Mr Presicce, it is thought that the finger and part of the palm of the hand was lost when the globe the colossus had been holding was separated from the statue and placed on a column marking the first mile of the Appian Way. Pictured: the restored index finger

The restoration of the finger is 'a good way to mark the reopening of museums,' said the mayor of Rome, Virginia Raggi. Museums in the capital city (like the Capitoline Museums, pictured) were allowed to reopen this past Monday following an easing of COVID-19 restrictions

It would appear that the hand became damaged sometime before the late 1530s, with an engraving by the Portuguese painter Francisco De Holanda from this period showing the stature to have lost its index and middle fingers.

According to Mr Presicce, it is thought that these parts — and the palm of the hand — were lost when the globe the colossus had been holding was separated from the statue and placed on a column marking the first mile of the Appian Way.

Dubbed 'the queen of the long roads' by the Roman poet Statius, the Appian Way was one of the earliest and most strategically important Roman roads, linking the heart of the empire to Brindisi in southeast Italy.

It is unclear how the finger came to end up in the collections of Marchese Campana — although experts hope the answer may one day be found in historical documents.

CONSTANTINE THE GREAT

Pictured: the head of Constantine's other colossus, carved out of white marble

Constantine the Great, or Constantine I, was a powerful Roman general and ruler who lived from February 27, 272–May 22, 337 AD.

He is perhaps best known for being the first Christian Roman emperor.

This stopped people from punishing Christians, who had long been persecuted or killed for their faith.

He became sole ruler of the Roman empire in 324 after deposing of Licinius, who had ruled the eastern empire and Maxentius after a series of civil wars.

He is known for enacting administrative, financial, social and military reforms that served to strengthen the empire, alongside renaming Byzantium as Constantinople —now Istanbul — in his honour.


Lost statue of Roman emperor Caligula unveiled

ROME (Reuters Life!) - Officials on Tuesday unveiled a massive statue believed to be that of Roman emperor Caligula sitting on a throne and said it came from an illegal dig south of Rome that may have been the site of one of his palaces.

The statue, which had been broken in several large pieces and a head, was first found last January when Finance Police stopped it from being smuggled out of the country by boat at a port near Rome.

The operation led to the arrest of two so-called “tomb raiders” -- those who dig up the countryside looking for archaeological treasures to sell on the black market.

But more importantly, the arrests led police to the site near Lake Nemi, just south of Rome, where Caligula was believed to have had one of his imperial residences.

The statue, now cleaned of the earth that had covered it for 2,000 years, shows parts of a robed man sitting on an elaborate throne like the Greek god Zeus.

Significantly, it shows a man wearing a “caliga,” shoes worn by Roman legionaries and from where the emperor got the name by which he is known. His real name was Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus.


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Medieval News

The earliest depiction of Scottish tartan has been discovered – on a fragment of a Roman statue.

The bronze statue once stood on top of a giant triumphal arch in the ancient Moroccan city of Volubilis, in the south-west corner of the Roman Empire, 1500 miles from Scotland. It depicted the Emperor Caracalla – the self-styled conqueror of the Caledonians – riding a six-horse chariot.

The statue, erected 1800 years ago, was destroyed centuries ago, and only a three-foot-long fragment of the emperor's cape remains in a museum in Rabat. Remarkably, the surviving bronze includes the image of a captive Caledonian warrior – wearing tartan trews.

Dr Fraser Hunter, of the National Museum of Scotland, yesterday identified the carving – inlaid with bronze and silver to give texture to the Scottish weave – as the "first-ever depiction of tartan".


By Daily Mail Reporter
Updated: 10:13 BST, 27 August 2008

Blast from the past: The 3ft-tall head of Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius

Archaeologists have discovered an exquisite marble statue of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius.

The emperor, who ruled between 161 and 180 AD, was portrayed by Richard Harris in the film Gladiator.

The statue's 3ft-tall head, 5ft-long right arm and huge lower legs were found at the ancient city of Sagalassos in Turkey.

Belgian Professor Marc Waelkens, who is leading the dig, said its eyes gaze upwards 'as if in deep contemplation, perfectly fitting of an emperor who was more of a philosopher than a soldier'.

The statue was found in the largest room at Sagalassos's Roman baths which is believed to have been a 'frigidarium', a room with a cold pool which Romans would sink into after a hot bath.

Archaeologists have been excavating the frigidarium for 12 years and enormous sculptures of Hadrian, his wife Vibia Sabina, emperor Antoninus Pius, his wife Faustina the Elder and Marcus Aurelius are all thought to have adorned the 13,500sq ft room.

The gigantic right foot of the Roman emperor and philosopher is revealed

Pieces of history: The huge lower legs of the statue see daylight for the first time in 2,000 years

Fame: Richard Harris(left) playing emperor Marcus Aurelius in the film Gladiator


Stunning 10-Foot Statue Of Roman Emperor Found Under Ancient Fountain In Turkey

Archaeologists working in the ancient Turkish city of Laodicea have discovered a monumental statue of Trajan, a famed Roman emperor who led the empire to its greatest geographical extent.

The extravagant, imposing statue of Trajan was discovered by researchers from the Excavation Committee of the Ancient City of Laodicea, a project led by Pamukkale University archaeologist Celal Şimşek, reports Hurriyet Daily News.

The 1,906-year-old statue stands at an impressive 3 meters tall, which is just shy of 3.05m. The statue was reconstructed from hundreds of pieces found clustered together beneath an ancient water fountain.

The statue features Trajan in full military regalia, including decorated body armour, a short chiton (the Roman equivalent of a Scottish kilt), and a cloth falling from the left soldier. A bound enemy soldier can be seen cowering behind the victorious Trajan, who strikes a domineering pose with his right arm in the air. The statue was completed in 113 AD, just four years before the emperor’s death.

The statue was reconstructed from 356 pieces. (Image: Excavation Committee of the Ancient City of Laodicea)

During his 19-year reign, from 98 to 117 AD, the soldier-emperor Trajan expanded the Roman Empire to its largest extent, a vast region that included much of Europe, North Africa, and swaths of the Middle East, including Mesopotamia (now Iraq). Trajan contributed to the Empire in other ways as well, launching large public works that included the construction of aqueducts, bridges, and harbours.

A post at the History Blog explains the geographical and historical context of the discovery:

Laodicea was in the province of Phrygia (the bound prisoner is wearing a Phrygian cap), located on an important trade route that brought it great wealth and prosperity. It was so rich, in fact, that when an earthquake destroyed the city in 60 A.D., the residents refused any aid from the empire and rebuilt it with their own funds. They rebuilt it in grand style, its most prominent citizens sponsoring the construction of theatres, baths, temples, a stadium and a myriad other public buildings and works of art. It was granted free city status under [Rome] making it autonomous and self-governing. It even minted its own coins.

The earthquake that presumably toppled the statue shattered it into 356 pieces, which were subsequently buried beneath a fountain where the monument had stood. According to Hurriyet Daily News, Trajan built a waterway in Laodicea, and he poured a substantial amount of money into the city the statue was meant to honour Trajan for his many contributions.

The statue is of unusually good quality, Şimşek told Hurriyet Daily News, featuring detailed and intricate facial features. He believes the statue was likely sculpted by an artist who saw Trajan in person. Various images on the armour are also visible.

“On the upper part of the armour, there is the thunder of Jupiter, the celestial god of thunder. Medusa is located right in the middle of the chest, which is important because it shows the emperor’s frightening side,” Şimşek told Hurriyet Daily News.

“There are two reciprocal griffons [a legendary creature with the body, tail, and back legs of a lion], which are the symbol of the god Apollo. We see Apollo as the god that protected the fine arts. With this, what…comes to mind is that the emperor did protect fine arts at his time,” he said.

The archaeologists also found an inscription of the Roman Water Law at the same location — a document detailing the various rules and penalties concerning the use and treatment of fresh water at the time.