Gallery of the emperors

By Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli

Testa di Claudio con corona civica su busto moderno (2010/2018)Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli

The Farnese collection, like many other antiquities collections in Renaissance, is not merely an assemblage of beautiful or rare objects but, in a more meaningful way, serves as a means for the self-representation of such powerful family, that considers itself the direct descendant of the emperors of Rome. In this logic, the imperial portraits are displayed in the ceremonial rooms, as if they were images of illustrious ancestors.

Ritratto colossale di Tiberio su busto moderno (2010/2018)Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli

Modern busts of emperors were placed in the Sala Grande of the Farnese Palace in Campo dei Fiori, which was intented to be a treasure chest for the forming collection, in a constant dialogue between architecture, decoration, ancient and modern works of art.

Statua loricata colossale con testa ritratto di Cesare moderna (2010/2018)Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli

On the other hand, there were also ancient statues of emperors in the Farnese Palace . They are marvellous full-length sculptures, like this one, originally representing an emperor of the early 3rd century, with its head portraying Cesar added on the occasion of the transfer to Naples.

Statua loricata con ritratto non pertinente di Lucio Vero, 2010/2018, From the collection of: Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli
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Testa ritratto colossale di Giulio Cesare su busto moderno (2010/2018)Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli

Colossal portraits, like this of Julius Caesar, belonging to the sculptural decoration of the Forum of Trajan in Rome.

Ritratto colossale di Antonio Pio su busto moderno, 2010/2018, From the collection of: Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli
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Statua maschile colossale in nudità eroica con testa ritratto di Alessandro Severo (2010/2018)Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli

Colossal portraits of emperors shown in their heroic nudity, like Alexander Severus, almost 4 mt tall.

Statua loricata con ritratto non pertinente di Marco Aurelio (2010/2018)Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli

Particularly frequent are the images of enlightened emperors, such as Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius, who was an emperor and philosopher. They were the main protagonists of the largest expansion of the empire in its period of peace.

Ritratto di Marco Aurelio su busto moderno (2010/2018)Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli

Busto di Marco Aurelio, 2010/2018, From the collection of: Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli
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Ritratto di Marco Aurelio su busto moderno, 2010/2018, From the collection of: Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli
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Ritratto di Marco Aurelio su busto di alabastro moderno, 2010/2018, From the collection of: Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli
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Busto loricato di Adriano (2010/2018)Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli

Busto clamidato di Adriano, 2010/2018, From the collection of: Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli
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Busto di Caracalla (2010/2018)Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli

A prominent element in the Hall of Emperors, the portrait of Caracalla contrasts the traditional image of bearded emperors inaugurated by Hadrian and originally referring to the image of philosophers. The emperor is represented here as a soldier, with a scowl on his face, ready for imminent action.

Statua ritratto femminile, cd. Agrippina (2010/2018)Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli

Next to emperors stood their family members. Never exhibited in the Palace, but in the gardens of the Palatine Hill and then at Villa Farnesina, this sculpture gained immediate notoriety as the old woman was tentatively identified as Agrippina, mother of Nero.

Testa di ritratto di Antinoo su torso antico non pertinente (2010/2018)Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli

The statue of Antinous, the young lover of Hadrian, deified after his death on the Nile, was very famous. The sculpture was placed in one of the niches of the Carracci Gallery, one of the most significant halls in the building.

Credits: Story

Photo Luigi Spina

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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