Saturday, August 22, 2009


Images of the Roman emperors were put up in Athens just as all over the empire from the late 1st century Bc and onwards. This is a rare portrait of Augustus (Emp. 27 Bc - 14 Ad, b. 63 Bc d. 14 Ad) in bronze.


Björn Nilsson said...

Seems there were more bronze during the Roman iron age than during the Bronze age. Have got the impression that the public spaces were more or less occupied by bronze statues - but now almost all of them are gone. The question is how much real art, and how much dull propaganda, is among the lost items. Can we trust that the marble copies give a true picture of what was melted down?

Keep up good job! My computer goes "beep" every time you enter a new item!

Patrik Klingborg said...

You've got a good point there, bronze was very common during the Iron Age and it took a long time before iron was the more common of the two metals. The same thing goes for the early bronze age, stone was still more important for the longest time.
Bronze was the primary statue material during the Greco-Roman period, but most of the pieces have been melted down (as most marble copies have been destroyed too). It is clear though, primarily based on how many statue bases we find, that there were a great deal of statues put up through the years. The Roman forum was even cleaned out now and then. It might be interesting to know that most stone sculptures were made with metal details (as weapons, crowns, etc).
On how exact marble copies are, it's a complex question. The first problem is that many bronze statues cannot be copied in stone (as the Zeus/Poseidon I posted a while ago, the arms would simply break off). Others can almost hold their weight (as the Demosthenes, notice that the left leg is supplied with some extra support) and the extra support needed is normally added with the assistance of a tree trunk, falling mantle or such. A last category can be copied more or less exactly, such as the dying Gaul. I could very much imagine that a copy of the seated boxer could be done in the same way, without extra supports. It’s normally considered to be a matter of how well the material can handle the weight, but then again, there are always exceptions.

Lovisa said...

Oh, now we're talking! :)

Allvarligt talat, det är roligt att se just den här då den sällan förekommer i böcker, märkligt nog, när det är en så välbevarad bronsstaty.

Patrik Klingborg said...

Eller hur? Jag var faktiskt tvungen att kolla en extra gång om den inte fanns med i någon bok här hemma. Han ser lite annorlunda ut med (tunnare?), jag undrar varför (ett halvt dussin mer eller mindre spekulativa teorier poppar genast upp i mitt huvud).