This month’s sculptures from Hadrian’s Villa are a pair of marble herms whose heads are traditionally identified as Tragedy and Comedy. According to the Italian archaeologist Giovanni Battista Visconti, both herms were found in 1735 by the owner of the Villa, Giuseppe Fede, near the entrance of the Greek Theatre. It was acquired in 1777 by Conte… Continue reading Art and sculptures from Hadrian’s Villa: Herms of Tragedy and Comedy
Art has always been an important part of human existence. Over time, individuals have taken great pleasure from beautiful things and sought to acquire lavish personal collections. The first known cases of individuals seeking to accumulate art collections were in Hellenistic Greece more than 2,000 years ago. The Attalids are usually considered the first art… Continue reading A head of Hadrian from a private art collection on show at Musée du Quai Branly in Paris
The Italian State Mint will issue a new collector coin in March 2017 to mark the 1900th anniversary of the beginning of Hadrian's reign (117 - 2017). The obverse shows a bust of Hadrian's facing right. It was inspired by a portrait of Hadrian which is housed in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. Around the bust… Continue reading 10€ gold coin to commemorate Hadrian
An international team including members of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Palazzo Altemps Museum in Rome and the University of Chicago used new technologies to make an improbable discovery about two portraits of Antinous. The years of research that led to this discovery were the focus of an exhibition titled "A Portrait of Antinous,… Continue reading A Portrait of Antinous, in Two Parts
Happy 1941st birthday, Hadrian! For this year’s birthday cake I chose to cook Apicius’s recipe for Patina versatilis vice dulcis (nut omelette). Patina versatilis vice dulcis recipe (from LacusCurtius): Pignolia nuts, chopped or broken nuts (other varieties) are cleaned and roasted and crushed with honey. Mix in, beat well pepper, broth, milk, eggs, a little… Continue reading Felix dies natalis, Hadriane!
This month’s sculptures from Hadrian’s Villa are a pair of dark-grey marble statues of centaurs. The sculptures became very famous due to their sculptors' outstanding workmanship and the rarity and high quality of their materials. The group was carved in bigio morato marble from the quarries of Göktepe near Aphrodisias in Caria (modern-day Turkey). The statues… Continue reading Art and sculptures from Hadrian’s Villa: The Furietti Centaurs
I would like to wish you all a happy, prosperous and inspiring New Year! Here are some New Year's wishes from a Roman oil lamp which was traditionally given as present for New Year’s Day. This Roman lamp was made in Italy in around 50-100 AD to celebrate the New Year. On the discus, a… Continue reading Annum novum faustum felicem vobis!
November 27 was the day when the Natalis Antinoi, the birthday of Antinous, was celebrated. Although the exact year of his birth is uncertain (c. 110-112 AD), an inscription found in scores of fragments in Lanuvio (Italy) attests November 27 (V a.d. Kalendas Decembres) as his date of birth. The marble inscription (CIL 14.2112) was… Continue reading The Natalis Antinoi and the collegium of Diana and Antinous in Lanuvium
This month’s sculpture from Hadrian’s Villa is a fragment of a dark grey marble panel with depictions of a centaur and a herm of Hercules. Formerly the property of the duke Braschi in Tivoli, the relief was acquired by the National Roman Museum in 1913 from Giorgio Sangiorgi, a well-known antiques dealer whose gallery was in the… Continue reading Art and sculptures from Hadrian’s Villa: Fragment of a marble panel with Dionysiac subjects
While Hadrian was visiting the province of Egypt in late 130 AD, his favorite Antinous drowned mysteriously in the Nile River. This tragic event led to the creation of a new divinity: Osirantinous, or Antinous as a manifestation of Osiris, the god who died and was reborn. One of our best primary sources for information… Continue reading The Obelisk of Antinous