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Article

Thorsten Opper

Elaborate monument erected by Octavian (later Augustus) in 29–27 bc on the Preveza Peninsula in Western Greece, north of the present-day town of Preveza, overlooking Cape Actium, to commemorate his naval victory over Mark Antony at Actium in 31 bc. The nearby city of Nikopolis (Gr.: ‘city of victory’) was founded for the same purpose at about the same time.

According to the historian Dio Cassius (Roman History LI.i.3), after his victory Octavian laid a foundation of square stones on the spot where he had pitched his tent, which he then adorned with the captured ships’ rams. On this foundation, according to Dio, Octavian established an open-air shrine dedicated to Apollo. Suetonius (Augustus xviii.2) and Strabo (Geography VII.vii.6) corroborate this evidence, although the trophy itself (with the ships’ rams) was, according to Suetonius, dedicated to Poseidon and Mars, presumably for their help during the battle. The hill itself was, according to Strabo, sacred to Apollo, and therefore the shrine was dedicated to him....

Article

1st century, male.

Active in the time of Hadrian.

Born to a family originally from Aphrodisias in Caria.

Sculptor.

Ancient Roman.

The remains of a Group in marble (Zeus, Poseidon, Helios, Heracles) by Flavius Andronicus, working with a relative, were found in Rome. They are now in the Glyptotek Ny Carlsberg in Copenhagen. The baroque style of the work is reminiscent of the ...

Article

Steven F. Ostrow

[il Bresciano; Prospero da Brescia]

(b Brescia, 1555–65; d Rome, 1592).

Italian sculptor. According to Baglione, he went to Rome from his native Brescia as a youth. He studied anatomy and the art of ancient Rome, and he gained fame for his anatomical models and small bozzetti. His skill as a modeller resulted in several commissions from Gregory XIII, including stucco angels (1580–81) for the Pauline Chapel and the Scala Regia in the Vatican. The success of these elegant, classicizing figures led to the commission (after 1585) for the sculptural components of the tomb of Gregory XIII in St Peter’s, consisting of a seated statue of the Pope, allegorical figures of Charity, Faith, Religion and Justice, and two angels bearing the papal arms. The tomb has undergone numerous transformations and much of its sculpture has been lost; its original appearance is recorded, however, in several engravings and in a drawing by Ciro Ferri (Florence, Uffizi). The surviving stucco figures of ...

Article

Thorsten Opper

Source of a group of Roman and Greek works of art, in particular a group of Greek bronze sculptures and statuettes. In 1900 sponge-divers discovered the remains of an ancient shipwreck in the sea off the Greek island of Antikythera. In one of the first operations of this kind, they salvaged some its cargo. A new investigation of the wreck site took place in 1976 and succeeded in recovering many further objects, as well as (still unpublished) remains of the hull. All the finds are now in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens. The ship, which must have foundered in the second quarter of the 1st century bc, carried a mixed cargo of ‘antique’ and contemporary bronze and marble statuary, as well as luxury products such as bronze furniture attachments, rare and expensive types of glass, gold ingots etc. It also contained the so-called Antikythera Mechanism, an elaborate type of astrolabe....

Article

Thorsten Opper

(b Claudiopolis [Bithynion] c. ad 110; d Egypt, October ad 130).

Greek youth from north-western Asia Minor who became the companion and lover of the Roman emperor Hadrian (reg ad 117–138) until his mysterious death in the Nile in October ad 130. The bereaved emperor gave orders for Antinous to be deified as Antinous-Osiris and founded a new city, Antinoöpolis, close to the spot where Antinous had died. From there, his cult spread rapidly over the empire, especially the Greek-speaking areas, where festivals in his honour were established and an astounding number of images dedicated. Most remarkable (apart from preserved representations on coins, gems etc, and paintings attested in literary sources) were his sculptured portraits, frequently likened to gods of the Classical Pantheon, of which nearly 100 have survived—a number surpassed only by the portraits of the emperors Augustus and Hadrian. Their ubiquity and often high quality made them icons of ancient art, highly influential and frequently copied from the Renaissance onwards....

Article

Luca Leoncini

This statue of the Greek sun-god Apollo (h. 2.24 m) in the Octagonal Courtyard of the Belvedere of the Museo Pio-Clementino, the Vatican, may be a marble copy made in the time of the Roman emperor Hadrian (reg ad 117–38) of a bronze original by the Greek sculptor Leochares; it is now regarded as a Roman creation of the early 2nd century AD. The statue represents the god stepping forwards lightly on his right foot and looking to his left, his left arm outstretched and supporting his cloak (see fig.). When it was found the figure probably lacked most of the left forearm and part of the right hand. These and other parts were restored by Giovanni Angelo Montorsoli between 1532 and 1533, although the restored portions have now been removed. It is likely that in his left hand Apollo was holding the arrows that were the usual attributes of the sun-god. There is also a tradition identifying the statue with the Apollo Venator, the god of the hunt; perhaps for this reason he is often shown beside the huntress Diana. The date and place of the statue’s discovery are uncertain, although Pirro Ligorio advanced the theory that the ...

Article

2nd – 3rd century, male.

Active in the early Christian period.

Sculptor.

Ancient Roman.

Maetius Aprilis' name and the tools of his trade (hammer and chisel) are preserved on an epitaph in the Catacombs of Priscilla in Rome.

Article

Giovanna Tedeschi Grisanti

(Rome)

A three-vaulted structure, dedicated in AD 315, which stands between the Caelian and Palatine hills, on the triumphal way from the Circus Maximus to the Arch of Titus (see fig.). Inscriptions on both north and south faces of the arch (on the part of the attic storey above the central span and on the entablatures over the side openings) record that it was erected by the Roman people after the victory of Constantine over Maxentius at the Milvian Bridge (28 Oct AD 312) in gratitude for his first decade as emperor and as a votive offering for his second. Contemporary literary sources, however, make no mention of the arch, and the first extant reference to it is in the anonymous Carolingian Itinerary of Einsiedeln (Einsiedeln Abbey).

The Arch of Constantine faces north and south, and both of these longer sides are articulated by four Corinthian columns in yellow Numidian marble, with four pilasters and statues fronting the flat-topped attic storey. It is the largest triumphal arch to survive intact (h. 20 m, w. 25 m), with a central opening measuring 11.45×6.50 m and openings either side of 7.40×3.35 m. Its elevation is entirely of marble, except for the brick fill of the attic storey. Part of the material for its construction was, however, obtained from Flavian buildings. Even the sculptures vary in date. Among those of Constantine’s own period are the reliefs on the eight tall plinths for the columns. Those of the south façade depict Victories with trophies and barbarian prisoners, as do the two outer plinths of the north façade. The inner plinths flanking the central opening (north) depict Victories writing on shields, and further Victories bearing trophies appear with Genii of the Seasons in the spandrels of the central arch, while river gods occupy those of the side openings. The historical frieze running round most of the arch just above the side openings is also of Constantinian date. On the west side, six panels illustrate the ...

Article

Mark D. Fullerton

(fl Rome, mid-1st century bc).

Greek sculptor. He was one of the greatest masters of his time, though referred to only by Pliny. A contemporary of Pasiteles, like him he worked in a variety of media (marble statuary, marble and/or metal vessels) and believed in the value of preliminary models, which were themselves sold at high prices. Arkesilaos was commissioned by L. Lucullus or his son to make a statue of Felicitas (Pliny: XXXV.clv–clvi), which was never completed. His most famous work was the cult statue for Caesar’s Temple of Venus Genetrix (ded. 46 bc). Hadrianic coin representations of this deity show a figure close to the late 5th century bc Fréjus Aphrodite type. If these represent Arkesilaos’ cult statue, then it must have been classicizing in style. The Temple of Venus, however, was extensively rebuilt in Trajanic times, so the statue depicted may have been a 2nd-century ad replacement. Only two other works are mentioned: a group of ...

Article

Sophie Page

Astrology is the art of predicting events on earth as well as human character and disposition from the movements of the planets and fixed stars. Medieval astrology encompassed both general concepts of celestial influence, and the technical art of making predictions with horoscopes, symbolic maps of the heavens at particular moments and places constructed from astronomical information. The scientific foundations of the art were developed in ancient Greece, largely lost in early medieval Europe and recovered by the Latin West from Arabic sources in the 12th and 13th centuries. Late medieval astrological images were successfully Christianized and were adapted to particular contexts, acquired local meanings and changed over time.

Astrology developed into a scientific branch of learning in ancient Greece, but because of the opposition of the Church Fathers it was transmitted to early medieval Europe in only fragmentary form in technically unsophisticated textbooks and popular divinatory genres. Literary and scientific texts provided more general ideas about the nature and attributes of the planets which were influential on later iconography. The first significant astrological images appear in 11th-century illustrated astronomical texts (e.g. London, BL, Cotton MS. Tiberius BV), which were acquired and produced by monasteries to aid with time-keeping and the construction of the Christian calendar....

Article

male.

Active during the Roman age.

Sculptor.

Ancient Roman.

His signature ex officina C. At. Auli can be seen on the hip of a figure wearing a toga (Agrippa?) found in the theatre at Merida (Spain).

Article

2nd – 3rd century, male.

Active at the beginning of the Christian age.

Sculptor.

Ancient Roman.

The name of Vincentius Aurelius, accompanied by the tools of his trade (hammer, square etc.), has come down to us from a Roman epitaph. He specialised in the carving of sarcophagi....

Article

Thorsten Opper

In 1954 a large number of fragments of ancient plaster casts came to light in the Roman city of Baiae on the gulf of Naples. Of a total of 430 fragments, 293 were in a condition that allowed further analysis. This revealed that they originally belonged to a group of 24–35 full-length statues that formed a representative collection of plaster copies of Greek bronze originals (gods, heroes, mythological figures) mainly of the 5th and 4th centuries bc. Twelve of these statues could be identified through comparison with Roman marble copies (e.g. Tyrant Slayers, Ephesian Amazons, Athena Velletri, Westmacott Ephebe, Hera Borghese, Eirene and Ploutos). For others likely identifications have been suggested, but cannot be proven (e.g. Doryphoros). The Baiae plaster statues were technically highly accomplished (hollow-cast figures with internal armatures, probably the first casts produced from high-quality moulds), and are likely to have been imported, perhaps from a place such as Athens, where at least three of the originals were located....

Article

Balbus  

Thorsten Opper

(Marcus Nonius)

(fl 1st century bc).

Roman patron and statesman. A wealthy Roman benefactor, supporter of Octavian (the later emperor Augustus) and patron of the city of Herculaneum [now Ercolano; formerly Resina], Balbus was a native of Nuceria Alfaterna in Campania, and embarked on a successful senatorial career, serving as Tribune of the People (32 bc), and Praetor and Proconsul of the double province of Crete and Cyrenaica. He chose to live in Herculaneum and lavished benefactions on the town, financing a complete rebuilding of the basilica, town gates and walls. In return, Balbus was appointed the patron (official representative) of the town and received countless honours, among them numerous portrait statues (ten are currently attested in the epigraphic record; five statues have survived). Through their range of media and statuary types, and with their associated base inscriptions, these provide an exemplary insight into the Roman system of portrait honours. Two marble equestrian statues, dedicated by the People of Nuceria and Herculaneum respectively (Naples, Mus. Archeol. N., inv. 6211 and 6104), were discovered in ...

Article

Kirk Ambrose

(b Moscow, May 7, 1903; d Paris, Jan 25, 1988).

Lithuanian art historian, scholar of folklore and Egyptology, and diplomat of Russian birth. Son of the celebrated Lithuanian Symbolist poet of the same name, Jurgis Baltrušaitis II studied under Henri(-Joseph) Focillon at the Sorbonne and earned the PhD in 1931. The concerns of his mentor are evident in La stylistique ornementale dans la sculpture romane (1931), which reprises and extends arguments for the ‘law of the frame’ in Romanesque sculpture. Accordingly, the shapes of architectural members, such as capitals and tympana, determined the articulation of sculptural forms. This theory could account for the genesis of a wide array of monumental carvings, from foliate capitals to narrative reliefs, but ultimately it had a rather limited impact on the field of Romanesque sculptural studies. In a scathing critique, Schapiro argued that Baltrušaitis’s book—and by implication Focillon’s methods—robbed Romanesque sculptors of agency and neglected the religious and expressive meanings of this art form....

Article

G. Lloyd-Morgan

Sculpted female figure (equivalent to the male Atlantid) used in place of a column (see fig.). Caryatids first appeared in ancient Greek architecture around the mid-6th century bc; they were also used in Roman architecture, and these models were revived in the 18th and 19th centuries (see §2). Classical caryatids are always clothed; they may be dressed in the Ionic style and may have either a polos or a high-sided crown on their heads, or a wider drum representing a basket containing sacred objects. When dressed in Doric costume, however, caryatids bear the capital directly on their heads. Where hands survive, they may hold ceremonial religious vessels. Non-architectural caryatid figures occur as decorative elements in the minor arts of Greece, Etruria and Imperial Rome. The most notable are the stand supporting mirror-discs, usually dating from the 6th and 5th centuries bc. Caryatids were used in furniture decoration, often as bronze mounts, during the 18th and 19th centuries....

Article

2nd century, male.

Sculptor.

Ancient Roman.

Cincius Publicus Salvius made the enormous pine-cone that surmounted the Mausoleum of Hadrian.

Article

1st century, male.

Sculptor.

Ancient Roman.

Coponius made a number of statues for the Theatre of Pompey, according to Pliny and Suetonius.

Article

1st century, male.

Active in Rome AD.

Sculptor.

Ancient Roman.

Cossutius' name is signed on two antique statues, one of which was discovered in the house of Antoninus Pius at Lanuvium.

London (British Mus.): statue from Lanuvium

Article

1st century, male.

Active in Rome AD.

Sculptor.

Ancient Roman.

This Cossutius, known from a signed work, seems to have been active at the time of Augustus and Tiberius.