Masterpieces of the Capitoline Museums
The Capitoline Museums contains many masterpieces of art, archaeology and objects of historical significance.
- Colossus of Constantine
- 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 world. 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.
- Capitoline Wolf
- 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 which can be seen throughout Italy and Rome.
- Dying Gaul
- The “Dying Gaul” is an Ancient Roman marble copy of a lost Hellenistic sculpture, executed in bronze, it 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.
- Boy with Thorn
- 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, and this image of the extraction of a thorn from the foot was invented in the Hellenistic period and originates 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.
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“When you arise in the morning,
think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive
– to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.”
– Marcus Aurelius
Photo Credit: By Ricardo André Frantz (User:Tetraktys) (taken by Ricardo André Frantz) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons