Sunday, May 11, 2014


Galleria degli Horti
Findings from the Quirinal, Viminal and Esquiline hills during the construction work for the expansion of Rome at the end of 1800s
The archeologists found, among other things, 192 marble statues, 266 busts and heads, 54 polychrome mosaics, 36,679 pieces of gold, silver and bronze 705 amphora with inscriptions, 405 works of art in bronze, 711 gems, engraved stones and cameos
Many of the statues were found inserted in pieces in late ancient walls, used as construction material
Lamian Gardens
Between Piazza Vittorio, Viale Manzoni and Via Merulana
Property of Lucius Aelius Lamia consol in 3 AD and friend of Tiberius (14/37)
They became imperial property and were inhabited by Caligula (37/41)
The Lancellotti Discobolus, now at the Palazzo Massimo, was also found here as well as the Aldobrandini Wedding painting, now in the Vatican Museums, one of the most beautiful and best preserved ancient paintings
Very valuable original Greek pieces of the fourth century BC found in 1907 in Piazza Dante:
Two Greek funerary stelae, one with "Woman Sitting Down" and one with "Woman Standing"
"Group of the Ephedrismòs" with two girls, one on the shoulders of the other during a game of leapfrog, 
The group dell'Ephedrismòs is a masterpiece of Hellenistic sculpture of a piercing beauty and sensuality, so full of dynamism and with drapery rendered in such a way to be able to compete in virtuosic beauty, if not in size, with the "Nike of Samothrace" the great icon of Hellenistic sculpture in the Louvre in Paris
Although the original colors are lost the virtuosistic treatment of the marble, however, manages to distinguish the heavier draped garnments from the lighter ones of the two admittedly skimpy dressed young girls
The group was probably originally used as acroterion, a element placed on roof of buildings. According to an interesting hypothesis by Georgios Despinis it was brought to Rome as war booty from the city of Tegea in Greece
The Ephedrismòs game consisted in hitting with a ball a rock stuck in the ground: those who had not succeeded had to take on their shoulders the winners who would cover the losers' eyes until the latter had not reached the stone
Part of the extraordinary "Floor of alabaster" from the disappeared Villa Palombara, which at the time of the discovery appeared about 80 m (260 feet) long
"Fragments of precious furniture": gems, crystals and gold plated metal sheets
"Esquiline Venus" first century AD, maybe a portrait of Cleopatra or Isis-Aphrodite product of religious syncretism of Hellenistic Egypt. Extraordinary sensuality on the movement of the legs and lateral torsion of the body mitigated, however, by the classicist style used for the impassive face
"Diadoumenos" from an original of about 430 BC by Polykleitos of Argos (about 490/425 BC)
"Here Polykleitos exacerbates the characteristics of the Doryphorus: the center of gravity is no longer on one leg but in the middle between the two, the modeling is more subtle, the rhythms are more complex and an idea of marble coloring is present in the face and especially in the hair" (Carlo Bertelli, Giuliano Briganti, Antonio Giuliano)
"Head of a satyr" believed by some scholars to be dating back tothe Tiberian period (14/37), and by others, like Filippo Coarelli, an original of early second century BC by an artist of the school of Pargamum. The marble is Asian and it wouldn't have made sense to use this kind of marble in the first century AD in Rome where there were far better kind of marble available. Bernini never saw this statue which surpasses even his most flamboyant works for its outstanding baroque expressionism
"The almost animalistic features of the face rendered with extraordinary effectiveness, the study exaggerated in the rendering of the features expressively tormented, are similar characteristics to the ones visible in the heads of the group of Polyphemus at Sperlonga, especially that of Ulysses. Maybe the same patron presided over the creation of this group of works, created with a declared similarity to Hellenistic art from Rhodes and Pergamum: Tiberius, owner of the villa at Sperlonga and heir of the Aelii Lamiae property" (Guide to the Capitoline Museums - 2007 Electa)
"If Hadrian with the theme of contrast between light and smooth parts of the face and the chiaroscuro of the animated short beard and hair is balanced by the strong classical matrix, with Marcus Aurelius and even more with Commodus, the almost frenetic pace of the masses of hair and beard, longer and longer, becomes the dominant feature, which wants to convey the idea of strength and vigor of the monarch, represented, not surprisingly as Hercules" (Gian Luca Grassigli - TMG)
"Statue of woman with chiton" in marble from Paros inspired to the early Hellenistic style
Taurian and Vettian Gardens
Via Labicana, Viale Manzoni
Property of senator Statilius Taurus
They became imperial property in 53 at the time of Claudius (41/54)
In 368 they became eventually property of the Praefectus Urbi (Superintendent of the city) Vettius Agorius Praetextatus
"Statue maybe of Igea" first century BC with bracelet and beautiful armilla on the left arm
"Bust of a goddess" maybe Artemis from an original of the fourth century BC by Kephisodotos
"Sarcophagus with the myth of the Caledonian Boar" from Vicovaro in Proconnesian marble
"Statue of cow" maybe a copy from the famous original of Myron from Eleutere (about 500/440 BC) for the Acropolis in Athens and brought to Rome at the time of Vespasian (69/79)
Three neo-Attic reliefs: "Landscape with a sanctuary" "Quadriga of Helios" and "Quadriga of Selene" running after each other
"Draped female statue" second century BC in pentelic marble, an original Greek statue from the Magna Graecia (Southern Italy)
"Genius of Domitian" in marble of Thasos
"Female Statue with a different head of the Faustina the Elder type"
"Legs of a Roman soldier" beginning of first century AD in pentelic marble
"Relief with Eros" without head in Synnada marble from Hadrian's period
"Base with four Greyhounds" in Luni (Carrara) marble maybe for a bronze decorative element
"Portrait of Man" first half of the III century with bust in alabaster not original
"Portrait of Child" in Greek marble
"Portrait of Woman" Severian period (193/235) in Luni marble with typical hairdo fashionable at that time
Imperial portraits:
"Adrian" (117/138)" between his wife "Sabina" and his mother in law "Matidia" whom he transformed onto a goddess
"Faustina the Elder"
"Domitian" (81/96) perhaps the finest extant portrait of this emperor who reigned for 15 years and who had, after hisdeath, the damnatio memoriae, or the cancellation of his images. This is why his portraits are quite rare and ruined like this one
Maecenas Gardens
Via Merulana, Via Buonarroti
The area was reclaimed and became the sumptuous home of Maecenas in 40 BC. He was the first to colonize the Esquiline Hill as the place for luxury homes
It used to be the site of an ancient cemetery
The villa became imperial property by the first decade AD
Of all the structure only the so-called Auditorium in Via Merulana still exists today
"Hermes" with portraits of writers
"Rhytòn shaped Fountain" (a Rhytòn was a cone shaped container for drinking) end of the first century BC, signed by the Greek Pontios
"Head of an Amazon" from the original of the fifth century BC by Polykleitos
"Statue of Marsyas" from an original of the second century BC in pavonazzetto marble in order to imitate the flayed skin
"Relief with Dionysian initiation scene" from an original of the second century BC
Group of "Charioteer and horse" Roman reinterpretation of Greek stylistic features from the fifth century BC
Three fragmentary statues identifiable as Muse from Hellenistic originals including "Calliope" (muse of epic poetry) and "Melpomene" (muse of tragedy)
"The special position of the body creates an elegant design of the heavy drapery of fabric arranged in a refined pattern of curved lines. The waist is encircled by a Nebrid, the goat skin typical of Dionysian characters, which is a clear reference to the origin of tragedy invented in honor of Dionysus" (Guide to the Capitoline Museums - 2007 Electa)
"Dog" of Egyptian green marble
"Four herms of caryatids" in the archaic style of the Augustan age
"Igea" in pentelic marble from the original of 290 BC
"Eros Thanatos" second century AD from the original of the fourth century BC
"Archaic Attic funerary stele with dove" Greek original about 480 BC
"The production of dense folds still has an archaic taste, but the smoothness of the drapery and the effect of transparency reveal that attention towards the human figure, animated and alive, typical of the Severe style of 480/450" (Marina Castoldi)

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