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Bust of a Pharaoh
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Bust of a Pharaoh

130 - 140. Black basalt. Not on display

In the 17th century, a total of thirteen Egyptian Idols from various Roman collections entered Philip V´s collection at the San Ildefonso Palace. Ajello drew all of them for the catalog that was never published, and thanks to his drawings, we know the appearance of the eight that have not survived. These were probably looted and destroyed by Napoleonic troops. Philip V purchased twelve from the legacy of the Marquis of El Carpio, possibly including this one, which may also have been brought to Spain for Christine of Sweden´s collection. Nine of the Marquis of El Carpio´s fifteen idols had previously belonged to the Roman cardinal, Camillo Massimo, who had purchased them around 1650 after they were discovered at Il Canopo in Hadrian´s villa in Tivoli. This piece is difficult to identify as much has been added to it. The head, which is the only ancient part, probably belonged to a statue of a pharaoh. It is covered by the typical nemes veil and small curls emerge from it in front of the ears. The idols at Hadrian´s villa are of an eclectic Roman-Egyptian style that apparently drew on late-Egyptian sculptures from the fourth century b.c.e. Stylistically, it recalls Egyptian sculpture from the late period, while the soft shapes of the body visible under the thin clothing noticeably contrast with the linear details of the clothing itself. These are typical characteristics of sculpture from the late Hadrian period. Also, the discovery of this work at that location suggests that it dates from the end of that period (Text from: Schröder, S. F.: Catálogo de la escultura clásica, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2004, pp. 455-463).

Schröder, Stephan F., Catálogo de la escultura clásica: Museo del Prado, Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2004, p.455-463

Technical data

Related artworks

Busto egiptizante
Pencil on paper, Mid-XVIIIcentury
Inventory number
Bust of a Pharaoh
130 - 140
Black basalt
Height: 54 cm.; Width: 37 cm.; Base/bottom: 24 cm.; Weight: 29 Kg.
Royal Collection (Villa Adriana Tívoli; Collection of cardenal Camillo Massimi; Collection of Cristina de Suecia; Collection of Odescalchi, 55; Felipe V's collection, Palacio de La Granja de San Ildefonso, Segovia).

Bibliography +

Hübner, Emil, Die Antiken Bildwerke in Madrid, Druck Und Verlag Von Georg Reimer, Berlín, 1862, pp. nº 85.

Tormo, Elías, El último de los faraones y la estatuaria egipcia en el Museo del Prado, Boletín de la Sociedad Española de Excursiones, 52, 1944, pp. 91.

Tormo y Monzó, Elías (1869-1957), Catálogo de las esculturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1949, pp. 72.

Blanco Freijeiro, A., Catalogo de la Escultura, Blass, Madrid, 1957, pp. nº413-E.

Blanco, Antonio, Museo del Prado : catálogo de la escultura, Patronato Nacional de Museos, Madrid, 1981, pp. 123.

Elvira Barba, Miguel Angel, Cristina de Suecia en el Museo del Prado, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1997, pp. 67.

Elvira Barba, Miguel Ángel, El Cuaderno de Ajello y las esculturas del Museo del Prado, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1998, pp. dibujo 13.

Elvira Barba, Miguel Angel, Bajo el signo de Fortuna: esculturas clásicas del Museo del Prado, [s.n], Salamanca, 1999, pp. 33.

Museo Nacional del Prado, La púrpura del imperio, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1999, pp. 110.

Schröder, Stephan F., Catálogo de la escultura clásica: Museo del Prado, II, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2004, pp. 455-463.

Schröder, S. y Elvira Barba, M. A., ''Eutichio Ajello (1711-1793) y su descripción de la célebre Real Galería de San Idelfonso'', Boletín del Museo del Prado, XXIV, 2006, pp. 40-88.

Elvira Barba, Miguel Angel, Las esculturas de Cristina de Suecia: un tesoro de la Corona de España, Real Academia de Historia, Madrid, 2011, pp. 37-38,75 / 107-108.

Other inventories +

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 346.
346. Un busto egipcio de marmol negro con base de lo mismo. / Alto del todo 1 pie, 11 pulg.



Exhibitions +

El cuaderno de Ajello y las esculturas del Museo del Prado
19.10.1998 - 03.01.1999

Update date: 27-07-2021 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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