Bust of Marcus Aurelius
Bust of Marcus Aurelius Bust of Marcus Aurelius Bust of Marcus Aurelius Bust of Marcus Aurelius Bust of Marcus Aurelius Bust of Marcus Aurelius Bust of Marcus Aurelius Bust of Marcus Aurelius
Bust of Marcus Aurelius

Bust of Marcus Aurelius

  • Marcus Aurelius is the subject of this larger-than-life marble portrait bust
  • He is perfectly captured with his distinctive crown of curls and protruding eyes
  • Juxtaposing beauty and bravery, it exemplifies Aurelius' image as the ideal philosopher king
  • Measuring over 3 feet high, the bust truly brings the grandeur of this legendary figure to life
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Item No. 30-7736
$188,500
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description
This extraordinary, larger-than-life Italian marble bust embodies all of the hallmarks of the very best Italian sculpture of the mid-17th century. The work is crafted in the classical style of the Greco-Roman world, with the prefect proportions that make it engaging from every angle. The style lends itself well to the subject - Marcus Aurelius, one of the most respected philosopher-emperors in Roman history. Here, he is brilliantly captured with his distinctive crown of curls and protruding eyes in the perfect neoclassical juxtaposition of male beauty, wisdom and bravery.

Portraits of Marcus Aurelius from antiquity tended to reflect the advancing stages of his life, and today these classical models are grouped by art historians into four types. The first two types belong to the Emperor's youth, while the fourth depicts him at an advanced age. The third type captures Aurelius at the very height of his power, created around the year 161 AD in order to commemorate his accession to the throne together with Lucius Verus. Very few of these busts survive from antiquity, though one can be found today in the collection of the World Museum (Liverpool). A later Greek version is in the collection of the Musée du Louvre (Paris).

The present bust closely mirrors this third portrait type from antiquity, and thus it exemplifies Aurelius' image as the ideal ruler and "philosopher king." While his face is a model of serenity and wisdom, he also dons his military guise; dressed in tunica, cuirass and a fringed paludamentum, his grab reflects his active role as commander-in-chief. While the sculptor masterfully captures the pathos of the original Roman bust in the present work, it is further enhanced by the monumental size of the piece. Measuring over 3 feet high, it truly brings the grandeur of this legendary figure to life.

Known by history as the last of the five "Good Emperors," Marcus Aurelius left a formidable legacy as a politician, a military commander, and a philosopher. Rising to power at the age of 40, Aurelius reigned for nearly two decades, his first six years as co-regent with Lucius Verus. He is perhaps best known today for the writings he left behind, known as his Meditations. The present bust offers a fascinating psychological portrait of this historic great, mirroring his status as one of the world's great thinkers and leaders.

Mid-17th century

39" high x 31" wide x 14" deep
With Pedestal: 80" high
specifications
Period: Pre-18th Century
Origin:Italy
Material:Marble
Width:31 Inches
Height:39; Pedestal: 80 Inches
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