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National Archaeological Museum of Venice verified

Venice, Veneto, Italy open Visit museumarrow_right_alt

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High relief with Mithras killing the bull
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Artemis statue
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Kore statue
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Bust of Athena
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Ara Grimani
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Statuette of Poseidon
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Portrait of the so-called Vitellius
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Putti of the throne of Saturn
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Putti of the throne of Saturn
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Rilievo con Cleobis e Biton
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Cube statue
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Relief with war scenes
High relief with Mithras killing the bull
Artemis statue
Kore statue
Bust of Athena
Ara Grimani
Statuette of Poseidon
Portrait of the so-called Vitellius
Putti of the throne of Saturn
Putti of the throne of Saturn
Rilievo con Cleobis e Biton
Cube statue
Relief with war scenes

Other works on display

Description

The two reliefs represent a pair of cherubs holding Saturn's sickle and scepter. Originally they were part of a decorative cycle that included pairs of cherubs, dressed in a single fluttering cloak, carrying the insignia of the twelve gods next to their respective empty thrones, in an interior rendered with few architectural background elements. It is a remarkable example of Roman art from the Julio-Claudian age (27 BC - 68 AD), protagonist in Venice of a particular story of reuse and collecting. Coming from the church of San Vitale in Ravenna, the two reliefs are already present in Venice in the first half of the fourteenth century. In 1335 a collector from Treviso, Oliviero Forzetta, wrote in a note that he wished to purchase these plates with cherubs for his art collection: this is the first evidence we know of a collection of ancient sculptures in the Veneto region. The cherubs were then, again reported to Venice in 1532 by Marin Sanudo, who saw them inserted into the wall of a building near Piazza San Marco. Fifty years later, Francesco Sansovino in his guide to Venice of 1581 recorded the presence of the plates with the cherubs inside the church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli, where they remained until 1811. In that year, the plates were transported to the "Public Statuary" for the interest of the sculptor Antonio Canova and Jacopo Morelli, librarian of the Marciana Library, on which the museum depended.


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