Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Louvre--Roman Relics

On our way from Greece to Rome in the Louvre we discover that it's more like all of Italy, not just the Eternal City. First, we meet the Croatian Apoxyomenos, a statue discovered just off Croatia (which, yes, is neither Rome nor Italy, but he wound up here, sorry) 45 meters deep in the Adriatic Sea in 1996. He's an athlete with a well-developed torso, more so than his legs, indicating he's a wrestler. The statue was mostly intact, missing only eye insets, the left little finger, and the strigil in his right hand, which athletes used to scrape oil and sand from their bodies. The statue is assumed to be from 4th century B.C., or at least a copy of one from that period. Two nearly identical (though not nearly complete) statues have been found, one in Ephesus and another in a 17th century A.D. Venice family's collection. The connection between the three was made by the detail work in the hair and the nearly identical size.

Croatian Apoxyomenos

The emperor Augustine ruled from 27 B.C. to 14 A.D. and brought much peace to the empire. The imperial head of this statue was attached to a much later body, probably during Hadrian's reign in the 100s A.D.

Caesar Augustus

Two emperor's heads are situated by each other. Hadrian (of the Wall fame) is on the right looking over at a bronze version of himself.

Hadrian admires himself

Further on is matching thrones dedicated to Bacchus, but from the Vatican collection.

Bacchus Throne

Bacchus Throne

The Romans also have a hall dedicated to their statuary. Featured is a statue from the Collection Borghese's salle egyptienne, or Egyptian Room. She is Woman in prayer between two Ionic columns, made from red and white marble.

Roman hall

Woman in prayer between two ionic columns

Nearby is the famous Cupid and Psyche by sculptor Antonio Canova (1757-1822). The detail is quite exquisite.

Canova's Cupid and Psyche

Close up

Backside, because you need to see all of the statue!

Further on is a sculpture by Michelangelo Buonarroti of l'Esclave mourant or The Dying Slave from the tomb of Pope Julius II, made from 1513-1515. The project changed in scope several times. After Julius died apparently the money for the tomb dried up and the sculptures were never finished. After a few owners, this and one other wound up at the Louvre.

Dying Slave

The other captive from the tomb is l'Esclave rebelle or The Rebellious Slave.

Rebelling Captive

From northern Italy is this Hercules Fighting the Hydra, a fountain figure from the 17th century in bronze.

Hercules, maybe playing baseball or golf

Our last sculpture is the Nymph of Fontainebleau, a bronze relief from the 16th century, originally over the gate of the chateau de Fontainebleau. Benvenuto Cellini is the sculptor.

Nymph of Fontainebleau

Our next stop will be to look at various paintings in the Louvre.

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