Imperatore Constantino

Artist Unknown, Imperatore Constantino, Musei Capitolini, Rome, italy

The colossal statue of Constantine I,  sculpted in marble, was one of the most important works of late-ancient Roman sculpture The remaining segments are at the Palazzo dei Conservatori in Rome and were dated between 313 and 324. A hand and the right arm, the two feet, the knee and the right femur, the left calf and the head are the only remaining parts of the statue. The origin statue judging from the remains was a seated form that reached approximately 12 meters in height.

The head, which was originally decorated with a metallic crown, is grandiose and solemn, presenting the characteristics of Roman art of that era, with the stylization and simplification tendencies of the lines.  The face is squared, with hair and eyebrows rendered with very refined and “calligraphic” marble engravings, but still completely unnatural looking. The eyes are big, almost huge, with the well-marked pupil looking upwards; they are the focal point of the whole portrait.

The Emperor’s gaze seems to scrutinize the surrounding environment and gives the portrait an appearance of extraterrestrial austerity. The hair is treated as a single swollen mass deeply furrowed by the streaks that separate some locks. The face posesses an aquiling nose, long, thin lips and a prominent chin. This is an idelaized face, despite the classical importation, which seeks to show an aura of holiness.

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