Exhibitions, Photos

Art and Sculptures from Hadrian’s Villa: The Lansdowne Antinous

This week’s sculpture from Hadrian’s Villa is a marble head of Antinous depicted as the god Dionysos, the closest Greek equivalent to the Egyptian god Osiris. It was  unearthed in 1769 during excavations undertook by the art dealer and archaeologist Gavin Hamilton who secured it for Lord Lansdowne. The latter was an avid collector of antiquities and owned a fine collection of classical sculpture until most of it was sold and dispersed in 1930 (including the Lansdowne Amazon and the Lansdowne Hercules). Today the Lansdowne Antinous graces the “Greece and Rome” room of the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, England.

Marble bust of Antinous portrayed here as the reborn god Dionysus, known as Lansdowne Antinous, found at Hadrian’s Villa in 1769, c. 130 – 138 AD, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (UK)

This portrait head of Antinous was once part of an over life-size statue showing Antinous as the Greek god of wine, Dionysos. As was custom of the period, the missing pieces on the Lansdowne Antinous were restored in the 18th century and the head was mounted on a modern bust. The facial restoration included the tip of the nose, the upper lip, part of the ears and part of the chin.

Marble bust of Antinous portrayed as the reborn god Dionysus, known as Lansdowne Antinous Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (UK)

Through the elaborate and luxuriant hair runs a wreath of ivy, very much undercut, so that the several leaves are almost detached. The head is also bound with a broad taenia, a ribbonforthehair which passes across the forehead.

Marble bust of Antinous portrayed as the reborn god Dionysus, known as Lansdowne Antinous Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (UK)

The Fitzwilliam Museum displays three other items from Hadrian’s Villa in Tivoli; two pilaster capitals with ornate acanthus leaf decoration, and a relief (known as the Lansdowne Relief) made from dark grey limestone and beautifully decorated with scenes from Greek mythology, all of which are connected to the sea.

Marble bust of Antinous portrayed here as the reborn god Dionysus, known as Lansdowne Antinous, found at Hadrian’s Villa in 1769, c. 130 – 138 AD, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (UK)

 

The “Roman Room” of the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge (UK)

Bibliography:

*Christie’s, The Lansdowne Collection of Ancient Marbles, London, 5 March 1930, p. 66, no. 101

*A Catalogue of the Ancient Marbles at Lansdowne House, based upon the work of Adolf Michaelis Cat. no. 64 (pdf)

*C. W. Clairmont, Die Bildnisse des Antinous, Schweizeriches Institut in Rom, 1966, p. 16, no. 8

*H. Meyer, Antinoos (1991) 116 ff. Nr. III 6 Taf. 104

*L. Budde – R. Nicholls, A Catalogue of the Greek and Roman Sculpture in the Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge (1964) 68 Nr. 10

 

Originally published on Following Hadrian, republished with permission.

Filed under: Exhibitions, Photos

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Carole Raddato’s favourite hobby is travelling and for the last 8 years she has taken a huge interest in the history of the ancient world. She has dedicated all her free time to this passion. She loves to share with other history fans all the incredible facts and stories that she discovers throughout her journeys. She is neither a professional photographer nor an ancient history scholar, but she hopes that everybody can enjoy her photos. She is particularly interested in everything related to the emperor Hadrian whom she finds fascinating. He was himself an incessant traveller, visiting every province in the Empire during his reign. When Carole is looking for new ideas for her travels, she usually takes inspiration from his journeys and it is a great motivation for her to follow him in his footsteps.