Mosaic panel depicting a landscape with goats and sheeps and a statue of Dionysus holding thyrsus, from the Sala a Tre Navate (Hall with three ailes) in the Imperial Villa at Hadrian's Villa, Vatican Museums (Sala degli Animali)
Hadrian's Villa, Italy, Mythology, Roman art, Roman Mosaic, Roman villa

Art and sculptures from Hadrian’s Villa: Three mosaic panels with bucolic scenes

This month’s masterpiece from Hadrian’s Villa is a series of heavily restored mosaic panels depicting bucolic scenes with animals. The first panel depicts a rocky landscape with a flock of goats peacefully grazing by a stream. A standing bronze statue dressed in a long tunic is standing on a rock. It holds a bunch of grapes [...]

The Lansdowne relief, found at Hadrian's Villa, 120-138 AD, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge
Hadrian's Villa, Museum, Mythology, Roman art, Roman villa

Art and sculptures from Hadrian’s Villa: The Lansdowne Relief

This month’s sculpture from Hadrian’s Villa is a dark grey limestone relief decorated with mythological scenes. The relief was unearthed in 1769 during excavations undertook by the art dealer and archaeologist Gavin Hamilton who sold it to Lord Lansdowne. The latter was an avid collector of antiquities who owned a fine collection of classical sculptures [...]

Detail of the "Fauno rosso", a red-marble statue depicting a drunken satyr, Hadrianic copy of a Greek original from the late Hellenistic, from Hadrian's Villa, Palazzo Nuovo, Capitoline Museums
Hadrian's Villa, Museum, Roman art, Roman Mythology, Roman villa

Art and sculptures from Hadrian’s Villa: Statue of a satyr in red marble

This month’s sculpture from Hadrian’s Villa is a red-marble statue of a satyr, the so-called "Fauno rosso" (red faun). The Fauno rosso depicts a satyr, follower of Dionysus, the god of wine. He is depicted entirely nude apart from a nebris (faun skin) knotted on the right shoulder and hanging down over his left shoulder. The satyr [...]

Detail of fresco on the back wall of the tablinum
Augustus, Italy, Roman art, Roman Frescoes, Roman villa, Rome

When in Rome… visiting the House of Livia on the Palatine Hill

I recently wrote on the series of special events that took place in Rome last year in celebration of the 2000th anniversary of Emperor Augustus’ death. My last post focussed on the 'House of Augustus' (see here) and today I will concentrate on the ‘House of Livia’ in this follow-up piece. First excavated in 1839, [...]

House of Augustus, Perspective Room (room 11), architectural composition with projecting bodies and perspective rendition of colonnades
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA
Augustus, Italy, Roman art, Roman Frescoes, Roman villa, Rome

When in Rome… visiting the House of Augustus on the Palatine Hill

Last year Rome celebrated the 2000th anniversary of Emperor Augustus’ death. To commemorate the date, a series of special events and openings were launched in the Italian capital, including the opening of new parts of the ‘House of Augustus’ and ‘House of Livia’ on the Palatine Hill. After years of restoration works, new lavishly frescoed [...]

Hadrian's Villa, Italy, Mythology, Roman art, Roman villa

Art and sculptures from Hadrian’s Villa: Marble head of Hypnos

This month’s sculpture from Hadrian’s Villa is a marble head of Hypnos, the Greek god of Sleep. Hypnos is represented as a young man with wings attached to his temples (now lost). The head must have been part of a full length statue showing Hypnos running forwards, holding in his hands poppies and a vessel [...]

France, Museum, Mythology, Roman art, Roman villa

The Labours of Hercules reliefs from the Villa Chiragan, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse (France)

In honour of Twitter’s international Museum Week (#MuseumWeek), I invite you today to discover some of my favourite sculptures from the collections of the Musée Saint-Raymond in Toulouse (France). The museum is among the best and richest archaeological museums in France and visitors can discover the Roman town of Tolosa (Toulouse in Roman times), the [...]

Hadrian's Villa, Italy, Roman art, Roman Mosaic, Roman villa

Art and sculptures from Hadrian’s Villa: Black-and-white mosaics with geometric and floral motifs

This month’s masterpieces from Hadrian’s Villa are the black-and-white mosaics with geometric and floral motifs from the Hospitalia (guesthouse). The Hospitalia (guesthouse) was a two-storey building. It contained ten T-shaped bedrooms (cubiculae) on the first floor which were located on each side of a long and wide central hallway, at the southern end of which [...]

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Hadrian's Villa, Hellenistic Art, Museum, Roman art, Roman Mosaic, Roman villa

Art and sculptures from Hadrian’s Villa: Mosaic of the Doves

This month’s masterpiece from Hadrian’s Villa is a mosaic depicting a group of doves drinking from an ornate bowl, known as the Capitoline Doves. The mosaic is made of thousands of small tesserae in a dazzling range of colors called opus vermiculatum, by far the most sophisticated mosaic technique. It depicts four doves on the rim [...]

Hadrian's Villa, Italy, Museum, Mythology, Roman art, Roman villa

Art and sculptures from Hadrian’s Villa: Statue of Apollo holding the kithara

This month’s sculpture from Hadrian’s Villa is a marble statue of Apollo holding the kithara (Apollo Citharoedus) from the Temple of Venus (Casino Fede). Apollo is depicted with his attributes, the kithara and the sacred snake Python. The tree trunk around which the snake is wrapped is inscribed with the words "Apollonios made it". Circa 150 [...]