Cloaked Boys (2 Century A.D.)
Three figures of boys wearing the cloak and hood known as the caracalla are placed in the corners of the room. They are genii linked to wealth, health (like the small Telesphorus in the group with Asclepius in room VI, no. 13b) or death; the gnomes of the medieval sagas are derived from them. Two of them come from _ the Giardino del Lago, in the centre of the park of the Villa Borghese, which is still dominated by the Neoclassical temple of Aesculapius built by Antonio and Mario Asprucci in 1787. The third was formerly in one of the villa’s cellars. After they had been restored by Antonio D’Este in 1827, they were, according to Evasio Gozzani, given different locations: “Cloaked statuettes are placed on top of the isolated columns and over the doors”. These are the columns within the portico — that is, the pair in the central area and the pair flanking the fictive side doors and the opening leading to the salone.