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National Archaeological Museum of Venice verified

Venice, Veneto, Italy closed 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

This male bust found in Rome in 1505 immediately aroused the interest of lovers of antiquity who identified it with the emperor Vitellius. It is, in reality, the image of a stranger, whose facial features are rendered in a realistic way: thick eyebrows, prominent nose, thin lips, chubby cheeks and double chin. Some technical characteristics such as the shape of the bust, now partially missing, the hair and the incision of the pupils of the eyes, have led scholars to date the work to the Hadrian age, between 120 and 140 AD.

The portrait of Vitellio was donated to the Venetian State by Domenico Grimani with the will of 1523 and was exhibited in the Doge's Palace together with other sculptures in a room which then took the name of "Sala delle Teste". This prestigious location contributed to the fortune of the work, allowing numerous artists to study it and draw inspiration from it: sketches and drawings by Tintoretto and Jacopo Palma il Giovane, for example, confirm the intense study of which it was the subject; paintings that resume its appearance, attributing it to characters with different names, prove its extraordinary fame. In this regard, see the Banquet in the house of Levi, painted by Paolo Veronese in 1573 for the refectory of the convent of SS. Giovanni e Paolo in Venice, today in the Gallerie dell'Accademia. Finally, there is news of numerous reproductions of the bust of Vitellius from the Grimani Collection made in different eras and different materials, such as the bronze copy, belonging to the collection of Giacomo Contarini, another important patrician scholar in Renaissance Venice, exhibited in the Museum in the same room.


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