Colossal portrait of Antoninus Pius2020-01-12T15:04:31+00:00

Project Description

Colossal portrait of Antoninus Pius (160 A.D.)

The portrait, reworked in modern times, portrays the emperor who acceded to the throne in A.D. 141. According to the in-ventory of the furnishings in the Palazzo Borghese at Campo Marzio compiled in 1812, it was located in this building in a niche in the great hall of the mainjipart- ment. The antique part comprises the neck and head. The latter, considered to be antique by Ennio Quirino Visconti, was mentioned by Antonio Nibby, who noted that “due to the similarity of the hand, style and technique, I believe this to be the work of the sculptor who exe-cuted the colossal portrait of Hadrian”. Because of its sculptural qualities and size, he regarded it as superior to the portraits of the same emperor in the Vatican Museums. Due to the char-acteristic divergent locks on his forehead, the portrait, which represents the elderly emperor, has affinities with the head in the Museo Nazionale in Naples and the one in the Vatican Museums. The plinth a fragment of the front of a garland sarcophagus with a marine thiasos, is part of the same sarcophagus to which the fragments in the portico belonged. This section comprises a garland with fruit and flowers supported by ribbons; above is a long-tailed Triton blowing a conch shell and carrying a nude Nereid, turned three-quarters, on his back.

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