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The Nerva-Antonines in Florence

The Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence is one of the oldest and most famous art museums in the world. In addition to Renaissance masterpieces including works from Botticelli, Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, the Uffizi houses one of the world’s most important collections of ancient Roman and Greek statues. The Medicis’ interest in ancient art started with the founder of the family Cosimo I de’ Medici (1519-1574) and grew over nearly four decades. The antiquities were stored and displayed in several rooms in Palazzo Vecchio and Palazzo Pitti where they could be admired by the visitors to the court. The antiquities were later transferred to the Uffizi.

Most of the ancient statues and busts are displayed on the u-shaped second floor of the museum. The wide corridors are filled with numerous portraits of the members of the different imperial dynasties including those of the Nerva-Antonine dynasty.

Bust of Emperor Nerva in lorica military cloak and paludamentum, Greek marble.
Statue loricata with the head of Trajan, Greek marble (head), Italic marble (?) (statue), 98 – 108 AD.
Trajan, Greek marble and oxyx, ca. 110 AD, the bust is a modern work.
Bust with the head of Trajan, ca. 105 AD, the head is inserted in a modern bust of red marble.
Female statue with a portrait of Ulpia Marciana, 110-120 AD, with modern restorations Loggia dei Lanzi, Florence.
Female statue with a portrait of Matidia, 110-120 AD, with modern restorations Loggia dei Lanzi, Florence.
Bust of Hadrian, 117-121 AD (of the Termini type).
Bust of Antinous, 130-138 AD.
Lucius Aelius Caesar (101–138 AD), intended successor of Hadrian who died prematurely.
Marble bust with the head of Antoninus Pius, middle of 2nd century AD.
Bust of Empress Faustina the Elder, wife of Antoninus Pius, circa 141 AD.
Young Marcus Aurelius, circa 150 – 160 AD.
Marble bust with the head of Marcus Aurelius, end of 2nd century AD.
Bust of Empress Faustina the Younger, wife of Marcus Aurelius Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence
Modern marble bust with the head of Lucius Verus, 2nd half of 2nd century AD.
Portrait of Crispina, wife of Commodus, 180 – 187 AD.

In addition to the members of the Nerva-Antonine dynasty, the Uffizi houses a number of portraits of unknown citizens from the same era. Some of these portraits were incorrectly attributed to members of the Nerva-Antonine dynasty during the Renaissance but the original inscriptions have remained.

Portrait of Vibia Sabina (wife of Hadrian) with a Flavian hairstyle.
Portrait of an elderly woman inspired by the iconography of Marciana (sister of Trajan), 98 – 117 AD, Greek marble (head) and red onyx (modern bust).
Portrait of an unknown young man from the Antonine era (previously thought to be Lucius Verus or Marcus Aurelius).
Portrait of an unknown young man so-called “Young Hadrian”, 130-140 AD.
Bust with the head of a young man (previously known as Marcus Aurelius), mid 2nd century AD.
Togated statue with the head of a man, circa 100-200 AD.
Portrait of an unknown woman so-called Lucilla, mid 2nd century AD, Apuan marble.
Private portrait of a citizen of the late Antonine period thought to be Commodus, 160 – 180 AD.

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