Exceptional pair of important ceremonial busts in Carrara marble for the heads and banded alabaster from Egypt for the chlamyds.
Our busts represent the emperor Marcus Aurelius (121-180 AD) and his wife Faustina the younger (125 / 130-175).
Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus is depicted as an elderly man, wearing a breastplate covered by a cloak clipped to his left shoulder.
He sports abundant curly hair and a very thick beard that frames his face.
His eyes are fixed on the horizon, which gives him a serious and solemn air, in accordance with his status.
This posture corresponds to the official iconography of the empire, more precisely to type IV designed around 170 which represents elderly Marcus Aurelius.
Several hypotheses are put forward for the conception of this new representation, in particular the death of Lucius Verus in 169 which leaves Marcus Aurelius sole emperor, after years of common reign or the commemoration of the “decennia” (ten years of reign) in 170.
You can admire a very beautiful antique copy of this type, at the Metropolitan Museum in New York or at the Augustins Museum in Toulouse, with a bust from the Villa Chiragan.
The second bust represents Empress Faustina the Younger, who married Marcus Aurelius in 146 AD.
The daughter of Antoninus the pious and mother of Commodus is depicted according to official iconography, draped in a cloak hooked over her right shoulder, with hair tied in a bun at the back and two wavy locks separated by a central parting.
Her face is serene and peaceful.
We find this iconography on coins minted in the 150s, with the mention "" Faustinæ Augustæ Pii Augusti Filius ", (To Faustina Augusta, daughter of Antoninus Pius)" under the bust of the Empress on one side and with a full “Venus” on the reverse and the mention Veneri Genetrici ”, (To Venus who gives birth).
Our bust perfectly represents the ideal of beauty and motherhood associated with Venus of her who was, niece, daughter, wife and mother of an emperor.
Good condition, small shine at the end of the nose and small restorations with chlamys for the bust of Marcus Aurelius, the skin of Faustina's face slightly epidermis.
Roman work from the 17th century.
Presented on pedestals in cherry red marble veneer, Medicis breach and ribboned campan, Louis XIV style and from the 19th century.
Bust of Marcus Aurelius: Height: 90 cm; Width: 70 cm; Total height with column: 219 cm
Bust of Faustina the Younger: Height: 84 cm; Width: 61 cm; Total height with column: 213 cm
Column: Height: 129 cm
Provenance: Important private French collection
Our opinion :
The exceptional pair of busts that we present are characteristic of the production of the Roman workshops of the 17th century, which worked on order for the great princely collections.
From the rebirth, the taste for “antiques” is perceived as an ideal, with a certain number of aesthetic rules, for the treatment of the figure and the body in sculpture which will become the absolute criterion of Beauty until Eighteenth century.
The ancient sculptures, in particular the representations of the emperors, will have a great rating with the great collectors, the couple Marc Aurèle-Faustine, will be among the most sought after.
These two icons of ancient Rome perfectly symbolize the canons of beauty dear to the rebirth, the power and virility of the empire for a Marcus Aurelius with abundant hair, and the grace and femininity of Hellenistic sculpture for a Faustina in the guise of Venus. .
It is for this reason that under the guidance of Michelangelo, Pope Paul III will place in the Capitol Square in Rome the large equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius in 1538.
From then on, the emperor's fame went beyond his exploits to become an artistic icon of modern Rome.
22 000 €