Portraits

Agrippina
6029 rittratti- farnese

Agrippina

The marble statue, of size slightly inferior to the real, represents a mature thoughtful woman with her hands clasped in her lap. The figure, sitting on a chair covered with a himation (cloak), wears a light chiton (tunic), the drapery of which reveals its origins from models of the mid-fifth century BC, and in particular from Phidias or sculptors of his circle, but referring to the cult statues of Aphrodite or Igea. On this model the sculptor built the head of a mature lady, as revealed by the folds of her neck, characterized by marked facial features. The figure is identifiable as Agrippina in godlike vestments.

Belonged to the Farnese family, the statue was placed in the Farnese Gardens of the Palatine and from 1767 in the Villa Farnesina in Rome. Passed to the Bourbons by inheritance through Charles III, it was moved to Caserta at the end of the 18th century and finally exhibited in the Museum since 1805.

Busto di Cesare

Caesar

Busto di Cesare

Caesar

The bust was found at the Monastery of San Lorenzo, in the locality Spolia Christi, in the area where in the Middle Ages the Forum of Trajan was thought to be located.
The sculpture, exhibited at Palazzo Farnese, was destined, according to an unrealized project, to decorate the main entrance of the palace. Passed to the Bourbons by inheritance through Charles III, it was moved to Caserta at the end of the 18th century and finally exhibited in the Museum since 1805.

The bust, placed on a moulded base with a concave profile and integrated by C. Albacini, portrays Julius Caesar with regular features, hair in tufts curled towards the forehead, the skull particularly developed, two deep horizontal wrinkles on the forehead and a protruding chin. The face represents a mature image of the dictator with knitted brows and bulging eyelids. The cheeks are furrowed by deep wrinkles of expression, the thin mouth is shut. The hair is combed in kiss-curls that frame the face, starting from the top of the head to camouflage the incipient baldness.

Busto di Marco Aurelio

Marcus Aurelius
Busto di Marco Aurelio

Marcus Aurelius

The marble sculpture was exhibited at Palazzo Farnese in Rome; passed to the Bourbons by inheritance through Charles III, it was transferred and exhibited in the Museum.

The portrait, placed on a modern bust by C. Albacini, was probably of a public nature. The face of the emperor, portrayed advanced in years, is skinny and framed by thick hair combed in overlapping rows of small curls that continue, almost without interruption, in the equally thick beard. The eyes, characterized by large and wide-open pupils, appear very expressive; the cheekbones are high, the nose is thin and well defined, the mouth with clenched lips is almost completely covered by a short moustache. On the whole, Marcus Aurelius appears as an enlightened ruler with an intense and absorbed glance rightly turned upward.

Busto di Caracalla

Caracalla
Busto di Caracalla

Caracalla

The marble sculpture, discovered in the Baths of Caracalla, was acquired by Mario Macaroni for short time and then it passed to the Farnese family, who exhibited it at Palazzo Farnese. Passed to the Bourbons by inheritance through Charles III, it was transferred to Naples in 1787 and exhibited in the Museum in 1805.

The portrait, on a bust and corbel restored by C. Albacini, represents Emperor Caracalla (188-217 AD). The emperor’s face shows a slight twisting movement of the neck to the left and an expression deeply characterized by a frown full of pathos. The hair is in tight curls as well as the thick and short beard that frames the face with accentuated chiaroscuro effects. The bust is wrapped by an imperial mantle that leaves the shoulder strap of the fringed armour exposed. It derives from a type much widespread between 212 and 217 AD, the year of the Emperor’s death.

Claudio

Claudius
Claudio

Claudius

The marble sculpture, exhibited at Palazzo Farnese in Rome, passed to the Bourbons by inheritance through Charles III and was transferred and exhibited in the Museum.

The portrait, on a bust and corbel restored by C. Albacini, represents Emperor Claudius. The emperor’s features are inspired by an accentuated realism, which puts a particular emphasis on the facial characteristics: the face has a rigidly triangular shape, the forehead is furrowed by wrinkles, the eyes are sunken and the cheekbones are skinny. The head is crowned with the civic oak wreath, which highlights the imperial heritage of Augustan ancestry. The portrait was executed at the beginning of the empire, when the emperor was only just over fifty years old; in fact the hair, with tufts combed in the shape of pincers and dovetail, closely reminds the hairstyle of the rulers of the Julio-Claudian dynasty; moreover, in subsequent portraits, the characteristics of the face appear to be heavier with the weight of years.

Busto di Omero

Homer
Busto di Omero

Homer

Of unknown origin, the portrait was acquired by the Farnese family, who first placed it at Palazzo Farnese and then at Villa Farnesina. Passed to the Bourbons by inheritance through Charles III, the portrait was transferred to Naples in 1790 and finally exhibited in the Museum. The bust, restored by C. Albacini, represents a character advanced in years and with an inspired attitude, corresponding to the canons of the reconstructive portrait of the poet Homer, which was very famous beginning from mature Hellenism and known through a very large number of copies and reproductions. The bony face with high cheekbones is furrowed by many wrinkles, the eyes are deeply sunken and open to show the blindness of the poet, whose inspired attitude is particularly highlighted by the half-open lips.

The frequent use of the drill in the working of hair and the clear separation of the hair from the face assign the portrait in question to the work of sculptors belonging to the Anthonine period and consequently date it to the third quarter of the second century AD.

 

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