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The Emperor Augustus
Marble. Ca. 1565
Bonanome, Giovanni Battista; Bonanome, Nicola
The Emperor Augustus
Marble. Ca. 1565
Bonanome, Giovanni Battista; Bonanome, Nicola

This impressive portrait of Augustus (27 BC to 14 AD) is by the Bonanome brothers, who were commissioned by Philip II in 1562 and 1565 to execute two series of busts of the first twelve Roman emperors, based on their biographies by Suetonius (c. 97-126 AD). This bust is from the small-format series, of which three survive. Philip II was dissatisfied with them and had them sent to the gardens of th

Vespasian
White marble. 1562 - 1565
Bonanome, Giovanni Battista; Bonanome, Nicola
Vespasian
White marble. 1562 - 1565
Bonanome, Giovanni Battista; Bonanome, Nicola

La cabeza es de mármol blanco; el torso está tallado en un gran bloque de mármol con aspecto de breccia, pero que, por sus colores, puede ser identificado como portasanta brecciato: en él se figuran la túnica sobre el cuello y el paludamento, además del remate de la coraza y las ptériges sobre el hombro derecho. La fíbula, en cambio, es de mármol blanco y la peana de mármol blanco con vetas grises

Roman Patrician, formerly known as Nero
White marble. 65 - 70
Roman Sculptor
Roman Patrician, formerly known as Nero
White marble. 65 - 70
Roman Sculptor

This youth, with his distinctive features, has a hairstyle introduced under Nero (54-68 AD). The Emperor’s undulating locks scandalised the upper classes in Rome at the time but were highly appreciated by the jeunesse dorée. One of a series of the Twelve Emperors given by Pius V to Philip II in 1568, it is likely that at that time this portrait was considered to depict Nero.

The Emperor Vitellius
White marble, Portasanta marble. Ca. 1565
Bonanome, Giovanni Battista; Bonanome, Nicola
The Emperor Vitellius
White marble, Portasanta marble. Ca. 1565
Bonanome, Giovanni Battista; Bonanome, Nicola

This bust of Vitellius is from the monumental series of the “Twelve Emperors” sent by Philip II to the gardens of the Casa de Campo in Madrid in 1571. The features are a more pronounced version of those of the so-called “Pseudo-Vitellius” in the Grimani collection, Venice. They present a highly expressive image of this unfortunate emperor, who reigned for less than a year.

Lucius Aurelius Verus
White marble, Portasanta marble. Late XVI century
Anonymous
Lucius Aurelius Verus
White marble, Portasanta marble. Late XVI century
Anonymous

Following the instructions of the Emperor Hadrian, Lucius Verus (130-169 AD) and Marcus Aurelius were adopted in the year 138 by Hadrian’s successor Antoninus Pius. Lucius, who was co-emperor with his brother (161-69 AD), was known in Rome for his licentious lifestyle. He was a renowned general, celebrated for his victories in the East, where he died of the plague. This bust may have been a diplom

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