Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Italy - Statue of Constantine
Fragment of the statue of Constantine. Pal. dei Conservatori.
Sent by Aygen, a postcrosser from Rome, Italy.
This is from Wikipedia : The Colossus of Constantine was a colossal acrolithic statue of the late Roman emperor Constantine the Great (c. 280–337) that once occupied the west apse of the Basilica of Maxentius near the Forum Romanum in Rome. Portions of the Colossus now reside in the Courtyard of the Palazzo dei Conservatori of the Musei Capitolini, on the Capitoline Hill, above the west end of the Forum.
The great head, arms and legs of the Colossus were carved from white marble, while the rest of the body consisted of a brick core and wooden framework, possibly covered with gilded bronze. Judging by the size of the remaining pieces, the seated, enthroned figure would have been about 12 m (40 ft) high. The head is about 2 ½ m high and each foot is over 2 m long.
The statue's hand may have held a staff with the sacred monogram XP affixed to it. (Medals that Constantine minted around this time show him so decorated.) An inscription is said to have been engraved below the statue:
"Through this sign of salvation, which is the true symbol of goodness, I rescued your city and freed it from the tyrant's yoke, and through my act of liberation I restored the Senate and People of Rome to their ancient renown and splendor."
The great head is carved in a typical, abstract, Constantinian style (“hieratic emperor style”) of late Roman portrait statues, whereas the other body parts are naturalistic, even down to callused toes and bulging forearm veins. The head was perhaps meant to convey the transcendence of the other-worldly nature of the Emperor over the human sphere, notable in its larger-than-life eyes which gaze toward eternity from a rigidly impersonal, frontal face. The treatment of the head shows a synthesis of individualistic portraiture: the hooked nose, deep jaw and prominent chin characteristic of all images of Constantine, with the trends of Late Roman portraiture which focus on symbolism and abstraction, rather than detail.