Capitoline Museums – Musei Capitolini – Virtual Tour
The Capitoline Museums consists of a group of art and archaeological museums in Piazza del Campidoglio, on top of the Capitoline Hill in Rome.
The Capitoline Museums are composed of three main buildings surrounding the Piazza and interlinked by an underground gallery.
The Capitoline Museums exhibits many masterpieces of art, archaeology, and objects of historical significance.
A Virtual Tour of the Capitoline Museums
- Colossus of Constantine
- Capitoline Wolf
- Dying Gaul
- Boy with Thorn
- Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius
- Self-Portrait by Giovanni Bellini
- “Good Luck” by Caravaggio
- “Diane the Huntress” by Giuseppe Cesari
Highlights of the Capitoline Museums
The Colossus of Constantine was a massive sculptured statue of the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great (280–337) that once stood near the Forum Romanum in Rome.
Large broken portions of the Colossus are now on display at the Capitoline Museums. Constantine was the first Christian Emperor of Rome, and he had a profound effect on the development of the Roman and Byzantine worlds.
After reunifying the empire, he established a new dynasty and founded a new capital, named Constantinople after himself. Christianity played an essential role in Constantine’s rule and his initiatives for reform and renewal in the Roman Empire.
The Capitoline Wolf represents the ancient legend of the founding of Rome; it is a bronze sculpture of the she-wolf suckling the twins, Romulus and Remus.
The Capitoline Wolf takes its name from where it is housed in the Capitoline Museums in Rome. The wolf is depicted in a watchful pose with alert ears and glaring eyes watching.
The human twins sculpted in a completely different style, are absorbed by their suckling. The She-wolf is the symbol of the city of Rome; it is one of the ancient symbols of Rome associated with its mythology and founding. It is a symbol that can be seen throughout Italy and Rome.
The “Dying Gaul” is an Ancient Roman marble copy of a lost Hellenistic sculpture that was initially executed in bronze. The sculpture portrays a Gallic warrior in his last moments, as he struggles from a fatal wound, his face contorted in pain.
The marble sculpture depicts a naked man with a Celtic torc around his neck, on the ground atop his shield, wounded and supporting himself with one arm, the other resting weakly on his bent leg.
The hand on the ground is next to a broken sword; his head is bent down to the point where we can’t see his face. He is bleeding from a chest wound on the left side of the rib cage, and he is slowly dying.
The “Boy with Thorn” is a Greco-Roman Hellenistic bronze sculpture of a naked boy sitting on a rock pulling a thorn from the bottom of his foot. The boy has been identified as a young shepherd.
The image of the extraction of a thorn from the foot was invented in the Hellenistic period and originated from the interest in observing everyday life actions and representing real-life situations.
Many copies have been made of this image in bronze and marble. In this sculpture, the head, body, and rocky seat were cast together as one piece.
The Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius depicts the famous Roman Emperor on horseback. The Emperor is over life-size and extends his hand in a gesture used by emperors when addressing their army and legions.
It is an image designed to portray the Emperor as victorious and all-conquering. It is believed that a conquered enemy had initially been part of the sculpture, based on accounts from medieval times.
The reports suggest a figure of a bound barbarian chieftain once cowered underneath the horse’s front right leg. However, Marcus Aurelius is depicted without weapons or armor; he is portrayed as a bringer of peace rather than a military hero.
That is how Marcus Aurelius saw himself and his reign. The statue was erected ca. 175 AD, during the Marcus Aurelius’s reign, but its original location is unknown and debated.
Giovanni Bellini (1430 – 1516) was a Renaissance painter who revolutionized Venetian painting, making it more sensuous and vibrant. He was also famous for his portraiture and helped make this art form especially popular in Venice.
Bellini created deep, rich tints and detailed shadings, and his atmospheric landscapes had a significant effect on the Venetian painters, especially on his pupils Giorgione and Titian.
“Good Luck” by Caravaggio shows the girl surreptitiously removing the young boy’s ring while reading his fortune. Caravaggio was one of the founders of genre painting in European art.
At the time, Genre Paintings mainly depicted scenes of everyday life, but with a hidden or underlying meaning intended to communicate a moral theme.
The theme of a young man inexperienced in the affairs of life encountering a lady who is experienced and shrewd proved to be a favorite subject.
The young boy is carried away by the gentle touch of her fingers. He does not notice that he is being relieved of his ring.
The composition does not include any background details to indicate the time and place but instead is focused on the encounter of two very different individuals, participating in an exchange that is timeless and universal.
“Diane the Huntress” by Giuseppe Cesari depicts the goddess from Roman and Hellenistic religion and mythology. The artist’s narrative skills are demonstrated in this small, sophisticated painting on a wooden panel from around 1600.
Her symbolism in this painting includes holding an arrow, and her hunting dogs accompany her. In her hair is an ornament in the shape of a crescent moon, an attribute of the goddess.
Diane was the patroness of the countryside, hunters, and the Moon. She is equated with the Greek goddesses Artemis and absorbed much of her Greek equivalent’s mythology, history, and attributes.
Since the Renaissance, Diana’s myths have often been represented in the visual arts, and her most frequent sole depiction is as the huntress.
- Name: Capitoline Museums
- City: Rome
- Established: 1734
- Type: Archaeology & Art Museum, Historic Buildings & Site
- Address: Piazza del Campidoglio, 1, 00186 Roma, Italy
Capitoline Museum in Rome
A Virtual Tour of Museums in Italy
Roma – Musei Capitolini – Rome Capitoline Museums
- Santa Maria delle Grazie
- Sforza Castle Museums
- Brera Art Gallery, Pinacoteca di Brera
- Museo Poldi Pezzoli
Capitoline Museums History
Capitoline Museums Map
Rome, Italy: Capitoline Museums
“Creating is the essence of life.”
– Julius Caesar
Photo Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0, Link