The Second Life of the Barberini Togatus in Baroque Rome

Autor: Motz, Timothy

Veröffentlichungsdatum: 30 Jan 2024 15:05

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URN: urn:nbn:de:bvb:355-kuge-613-5


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Sprache: Deutsch

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The statue known as the Barberini togatus, today in the Centrale Montemartini in Rome, shows a man wearing a Roman toga carrying on either arm a portrait bust. For nearly a century this statue has appeared in numerous monographs and textbooks on Roman art, sometimes accompanying a quote from the 2. century B.C.E. historian Polybius describing a Roman funeral in which participants carried masks of their ancestors. The statue has, in effect, become an illustration of the role ancestral portraits allegedly played in the development of Roman portrait sculpture. However, detailed investigation has led me to conclude that the statue is actually a pastiche. The two busts were probably added to an existing Roman togate statue in the early 17. century, shortly before the statue was given as a gift to the Barberini family. This article examines the statue in detail, pointing out the join lines and tool marks that reveal its true state. The article then proposes an explanation why the additions to the original Roman statue were made and points out a contemporary comparison. Finally, with the Barberini togatus removed as an example of the role of portrait busts in ancestral portraiture, the article proposes an alternative role for them in early 1. century C.E. Roman society.


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Barberini Togatus