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Home > Auctions > 25th May 2021 > Renaissance Bust of Marcus Aurelius

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LOT 0389

Estimate
GBP (£) 40,000 - 60,000
EUR (€) 46,600 - 69,910
USD ($) 56,550 - 84,830

Opening Bid
£36,000 (EUR 41,943; USD 50,898) (+bp*)

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Bid History: 0

Renaissance Bust of Marcus Aurelius

Late 16th century AD or later

An impressive life-size portrait of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, the head and neck carved from black marble, the lower part carved from alabaster of Circeo; the hair arranged in thick waves, full beard dressed in two layers; wearing muscled armour with a large winged Gorgoneion at the breast, the left shoulder covered by military cloak fastened by a round brooch; an armour shoulder strap detailed on the right shoulder with a row of round lappets from the under cuirass visible from beneath a strap. 64.1 kg, 59.5cm (23 1/2"). Fine condition.

Provenance
From the private collection of an Oxfordshire, UK, gentleman; acquired from a local auction in Marseille, France; formerly part of the estate of a deceased old French family collector; accompanied by an archaeological report by Dr Raffaele D’Amato and a geological scholarly report no.TL5363 by Dr Ronald Bonewitz; this lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by AIAD certificate number no.10607-174161.

Literature
See Fittschen, K., ‘Sul ruolo del ritratto antico nell’arte italiana’ in Setis, S., Memoria dell’antico nell’arte italiana, ed., vol.II, Turin, 1985; Favaretto, I., ‘La fortuna del ritratto antico nelle collezione venete di antichità: originali, copie e invenzione,’ in Bolletino d’Arte LXXVIII,, no.79, May-June, 1993, pp.68-72; Bava, A.M., Le Meraviglie del mondo, le collezioni di Carlo Emanuele I di Savoia, Genova, 2016, p.233, fig.86.

Footnotes
During the 16th century, antique sculpture and architecture became a popular subject matter for artists and sculptors. Various sets of imperial busts were commissioned from the Della Porta workshops in Rome during the second half of the 16th century, Marcus Aurelius being one of the figures most frequently represented. In the 16th century AD, the Court of the Duchy of Savoy housed a bust of Marcus Aurelius described as being ‘a bearded man, with cloak fastened on the right shoulder’, today visible in the collection of the Castle of Racconigi (inv.R3097). Our sculpture corresponds to the last ancient portrait type of Marcus Aurelius, created between 169 and 176 AD.