Rome's Top 10 : Museo Nazionale Romano (part 2) - Palazzo Altemps Collection & Ancient Roman Art

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Palazzo Altemps Collection

  1. Garden of Delights Loggia

    The loggia frescoes (c.1595) are a catalogue of the exotic fruits, plants and animals then being imported from the New World.

  2. Athena Parthenos

    The 1st-century BC Greek sculptor Antioco carved this statue to match the most famed sculpture in antiquity, the long-lost Athena in Athens’ Parthenon.

  3. “Grande Ludovisi” Sarcophagus

    This mid-3rd century AD sarcophagus, deeply carved and remarkably well-preserved, shows the Romans victorious over the barbarian Ostrogoth hordes.

    Grande Ludovisi sarcophagus
  4. Orestes and Electra

    This 1st-century AD statue was carved by Menelaus, an imitator of the great Greek artist Praxiteles. The scraps of 15th-century fresco nearby depict some wedding gifts from the marriage of Girolamo Riario and Caterina Sforza.

  5. Ludovisi Throne

    This set of 5th-century BC reliefs depicting the birth of Aphrodite came to Rome from a Calabrian Greek colony and were discovered in the 19th century.

    Relief, Ludovisi throne
  6. Dionysus with Satyr

    Imperial Rome was in love with Greek sculpture, producing copies such as this grouping of Dionysus, a satyr and a panther.

  7. Apollo Playing the Lute

    There are two 1st-century AD Apollos in the museum, both restored in the 17th century.

  8. Suicidal Gaul

    This suicidal figure supporting his dead wife’s arm was part of a trio, including the Capitoline’s Dying Gaul commissioned by Julius Caesar to celebrate a Gaulish victory.

  9. Egyptian Statuary

    The Egyptian collections are divided into three sections related to that culture’s influence on Rome: political theological, popular worship and places of worship. The showpiece is the impressive granite Bull Api, or Brancaccio Bull (2nd century BC).

  10. Colossal Head of Ludovisi Hera

    German writer Goethe called this his “first love in Rome”. It is believed to be a portrait of Claudius’s mother, Antonia.

Ancient Roman Art

Ancient Rome’s art was as conservative as its culture. Sculpture, the most durable art form, was also the least original. From the middle Republican period through to the Imperial age, Romans shunned original pieces for copies of famous Greek works. The Caesars imported shiploads of Golden Age statuary from Greece and its old colonies in southern Italy; Roman workshops churned out headless, toga-wearing figures in a variety of stock poses to which any bust could be affixed. It was at bust portraiture that Romans truly excelled, especially up to the early Imperial age when naturalism was still in vogue. Roman painting is divided into styles based on Pompeii examples. The First Style imitated marble panels; the Second Style imitated architecture, often set within the small painted scenes that became a hallmark of the Third Style. The Fourth Style was trompe-l’oeil decoration. Mosaic, initially developed as a floor-strengthening technique, could be simple black-on-white or intricate wall-mounted scenes using tiny marble chips to create shading and contour. Opus sectile (inlaid marble) was a style that was imported from the East.

Mosaic of Virgil and the Muses Top 10 Ancient Art Collections
  1. Museo Nazionale Romano (see Museo Nazionale Romano)

  2. Vatican Museums 

  3. Musei Capitolini 

  4. Montemartini

  5. Ara Pacis 

  6. Villa Giulia 

  7. Trajan’s Column 

  8. Column of Marcus Aurelius 

  9. Palatine Antiquarium

  10. Museo Barracco 

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