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Momenta Artis Romanae - Summaries

H. Kähler, Die Augustusstatue von Primaporta (1959 -MAR I)

The statue of Augustus from Prima Porta is one of the most well-known emperor’s statues up until today. Its good state of preservation as well as its aesthetically pleasing appearance, which the statue already has had to the observer during its discovery, led to the image of the displayed becoming the eponymous example of an entire type of portraits of Augustus, from which more than 200 replicas are known. The figural decoration of the breast plate is not of less interest because it reflects important aspects of the politics of Augustus. The author tries to not only study the statue on its own but to incorporate the context of its discovery that remained unnoticed for a long time but give insights into the function and set up location.

J. Moreau, Das Trierer Kornmarkt-Mosaik (1960 -MAR II)

The so-called ‚Kornmarkt‘ (grain market)-mosaic, discovery in Trier in 1950, belongs to one of the most important mosaics found in Germany. Especially the pictorial program, whose pagan character is not in accordance with the imperial Trier of the 4th c. AD., received a lot of attention. The author assumes that paganism did not lose its appeal in large part of the population even though Christianity became ever more popular in the 4th century.  One of the main problems is to decipher the pictorial program and to understand the religious content It is likely that a local cult, which maintains the mysteries surrounding the goddess Nemesis, had its compound in the city center.

H. Kähler, Das Fünfsäulendenkmal für die Tetrachen auf dem Forum Romanum (1964 -MAR III)

The results of an excavation that was conducted by the Archaeological Institute of the University of Cologne on the Forum Romanum in Rome in the 1960s are presented by Kähler in this volume. He was successful in reconstructing the appearance of a monument of the Late Antiquity: A monument consisting of five columns celebrating the 20-year anniversary of the rule of emperor Diocletian and his three co-regents and thus the new form of monarchy, the four-emperor-rule (Tetrarchy).

H. Kähler, Die Stiftermosaiken in der Konstantinischen Südkirche von Aquileia (1962 -MAR IV)

Underneath the floor of the medieval romansh cathedral of Aquileia from the 11th c. an almost entirely preserved mosaic floor was found during excavations in 1909 that belonged to a Christian religious edifice from Constantinian times. In the mosaic pictoral program, the Constantinian imperial family is shown in connection with Christian iconography.

H. Kähler, Der Fries vom Reiterdenkmal des Aemilius Paullus in Delphi (1965 -MAR V)

The oldest monument of Roman legitimization on Greek territory is the equestrian monument for L. Aemilius Pallus. The roman general seized a pillar monument dedicated to a Macedon king in Dephi after his victory over the last Macedon ruler Perseus in the battle of Pydna 168 BC, which marks the beginning of Roman rule in Greece. The seized equestrian statue with Perseus’ portrait was replace with a depiction of the Roman himself. The research is not on the monument itself but the plastic ornaments. In the frieze, which surrounds the pillar on all four sides, the victory of the Romans over the Macedons is depicted in the form of a ‘continuous narration’. The historical and art historical appreciation of the frieze is the actual aim of the book.

H. Kähler, Seethiasos und Census. Die Reliefs aus dem Palazzo Santa Croce in Rom (1966 -MAR VI)  

The largest relief of the republican era is made of two friezes that connect to a rectangle. The depiction of the marriage between Poseidon and Amphitrite extending over a long side and two small ones is opposite to a sacrifice brought to Mars by the Censors and a extract of the work of Censors. Both friezes, being both stylistically and by topic different, made up a monument whose exact meaning and function remains unknown.

H. G. Niemeyer, Studien zur statuarischen Darstellung der römischen Kaiser (1968 -MAR VII)

This research tries to understand and interpret sculptures of Roman emperors as evidence of their time. The author assumes that the sculptures of Roman times are pieces of art that can be seen as representative of their time and not just a mere resonance of past times, which was not common in the 1960s. This is especially true for Roman idealized sculptures even if there are Greek models. The author focuses on the investigation of statuary ideal plastic of the Roman emperors. In accordance with the meaning of this form of monument for the Roman statue, the ideological standing of the emperor and his surroundings can be analyzed by investigating imperial sculpture. The author also uses numismatic, epigraphic and literary sources in order to fulfill his aims. The author also follows the question how the change from principate to dominate influenced statuary depictions.

T. Dohrn, Der Arringatore. Bronzestatue im Museo Archeologico von Florenz (1968 -MAR VIII)


The bronze statue of the “Arringatore” was found in the area of the Trasmenian Lake in 1566, thus in a time when exact observation of the find context was still uncommon. The place of discovery and the Etruscan inscription on the statue indicate an Etruscan frame of reference. The clothing of the staute, a toga, shows the depicted as a Roman citizen. With this, the statue can be dated into the time after 90/89 BC when all of the freeborn socii (confederates) in Italy gained Roman citizenship through the lex Iuliia. The “Arringatore” marks an important turning point in Roman history: an Etruscan is depicted who not only appears as a citizen of his home town but also shows his newly gained status of a citizen of Rome.

H. Kähler, Alberti Rubeni Dissertatio de Gemma Augustea (1968 -MAR IX)


The Gemma Augustea is considered by researchers to be part of the type of so-called “State-Cameos”. The depictions on the half cut semi precious gems that fall into this category usually hint in an iconographic way to the emperor and his relatives which is why the possible recipients for this type of cameos are few. Aside from the imperial family, only the senatorial upper class is possible. The iconographic implications of the Gemma Augustea were already rightly interpreted in the 17th c. by Albert Rubens, the son of a famous painter, which is why the author printed his 300 year old premise, added with a commentary showing the modern state of research.

K. M. Türr, Eine Musengruppe Hadrianischer Zeit. Die sog. Thespiaden (1971 -MAR X)


The museal group of the “Thespiads” belongs in the classicist 2nd c. AD, when the repeated tendency to Greek classical times influence the culture of hadrianic times anew. The new classicist educational ideal, which was also promoted by the imperial family, did not only lead to mere copying but also to new classicist creations such as the “Thespiads”, who might be oriented towards Greek models but actually interpret them in a new sense.

T. Dohrn, Die ficoronische Ciste in der Villa Giulia in Rom (1972 -MAR XI)


The Ficoronic Cist, named after its first known owner Francesco de Ficoroni (1664-1745), is not only the largest and most complete, but also the only signed pieces among the younger Praenestian Cists (late 4th c. BC). These cists are bronze vessles with cylindrical bodies from chased bronze sheets, cast feet in the form of the paws of wild cats and lids with figural decorations. A special focus of the author can lies on the engraved decoration on the tool, which shows topics influenced by classical-Greek models. The artist’s signature shows Novios Plautios as the creator and Rome as the place of production.

H. Kähler, Die Villa des Maxentius bei Piazza Armerina (1973 -MAR XII)


The large late antique villa close to Piazza Armerina is home the largest preserved mosaic-decorated area of antiquity. It was probably built on behalf of Maxentius, who was the last Roman emperor who used Italy and Rome as the base of political power before he was defeated in the battle of of Milvian Bridge in 312 AD by Constantine. A investigation of the villa and its mosaic decoration gives implications on the trend in housing and societal ideal of the Roman upper class at the beginning of late antiquity.

W. Gauer, Untersuchungen zur Trajanssäule (1977 -MAR XIII)


The last and largest of the monumental squares in Rome, built by an emperor, is the Forum of Trajan. The architectural center of the complex is formed by the Column of Trajan, in whose base the tomb of the emperor and his family can be found. A frieze measuring several hundreds of meters is surrounding the column. Military successes of Trajan during his rule (98-117 AD) are depicted. The author tries to decipher the iconographic program, to understand the structuring, to connect the narration and the content of the frieze with historic events and to interpret the political message. The production process of the artist, the formation process of the draft and the connection between column and architecture of the Forum, which is based on the ideas of Apollodoros, are investigated.

H. Manderscheid, Die Skulpturenausstattung der kaiserzeitlichen Thermenanlagen (1981 -MAR XV)


Public baths played an important role in the social and cultural life of the imperial age. In the late republic they were used for hygiene purposes only and thus were equivalent to modern bathing complexes but slowly became centers of leisure in larger cities of the empire. The rising necessities became obvious in the interior of these baths. Aside from the growing sizes of the bathing commodities, libraries and statue galleries were added. Bathing complexes became centers of education, their statuary furnishing showed the mental climate of the age. Not only the repertoire of Greek classical times played an important role in the choice of statues but Roman creations and statues of emperor or such of the imperial family were also added to the ensemble.

G. B. Waywell, Lever and Hope Sculptures. Ancient Sculptures in the Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight and A Catalogue of the Ancient Sculptures formerly in the Hope Collection, London and Deepdene (1986 -MAR XVI)


As hinted in the title, the catalogues of two collections are unified in this volume, the sculptures of the Lady Lever Art Gallery in Port Sunlight and the depiction of the early Hope Collection, which was dissolved in 1917. Three thirds of the holding of the Collection Lever Art used to belong to the Hope Collection, which a unified cataloguing appeared to make sense. Due to the fact that a complete documentation of the Hope Collection has never been made, the newly published catalogue forms a reconstruction of a collection that has not been existent for the last 70 years. It is named after Thomas Hope, who started the last meaningful English private collection in Napoleonic times, which was created by the acquisition and taking of monuments from travels to Italy, being the usual tradition of the 18th century. Criteria for selection, on which Hope based the collection, mirrored the zeitgeist of the beginning 19th c.

F. Sinn, Museo Gregoriano Profano. Grabdenkmäler 1. Reliefs, Altäre, Urnen (1991 -MAR XVII)

The Museo Gregoriano Profano Lateranense founded by Gregor XVI (1831-1846) contains pieces of the Graeco-Roman antiquity that remained after the ban of exports of ancient monuments from the Holy See on April 7 1820, supplemented by older collections and depot holdings that were not sufficiently exhibited previously.In 1963 the Lateran Palace was used as an exhibition ground, the pieces of art were moved to the Vatican and in 1970 the new building part of the Vatican Museums was reopen to the public. All funerary monuments, divided by types, that were in the Lateran Palace are included in this volume.

D. Grassinger, Römische Marmorkratere (1991 -MAR XVIII)

Within Roman relief art, marble craters with figural and floral motifs form a independent and large type. The different forms are mostly equivalent to their parallels in pottery. In the large number of relief-decorated marble vessels, craters are only one of the numerous groups. The author made it her aim to present all pieces of the type of vessel. Modern creations are also noted as their meaning since the 16th century has largely influenced the art of the 16th-19th c.. Only in the middle of the 19th c. a scientific interest come into being, whose tradition this volume follows.

E. Angelicoussis, The Woburn Abbey Collection of Classical Antiquities (1992 -MAR XX)


The Woburn-Collection, one of the largest of its kind in Great Britain, has become object of cataloguing in this volume. It was the aim of the author to not only record and catalogue all of the statues but also to reconstruct the original exhibition of the collection in the sculpture hall of the castle before it was dissolved in the 1960s and re-exhibited in the entire complex of Woburn-Abbey.

D. Grassinger, Antike Marmorskulpturen auf Schloß Broadlands (1994 -MAR XXI)


The antiquities collection in Broadlands was founded by the 2nd Viscount Palmerston in the second half of the 18th c. His acquisitions are the result of two trips to Italy. Aside from cataloguing the ancient monuments and modern recreations, the reconstruction of the original exhibition in the country estate of Palmerston, which he remodeled in order to house these antiquities, the connection of classicist living trends and presentation of antiquities within the house is also of the author’s interest. She can show that the interpretation of the antiquities in the rooms of the house was part of the conception, that understood house and garden as a overarching piece of art, which is also visible in the program of the collection: it mostly consisted of smaller than life sized statues, busts and heads that were used to decorate the rooms. A gallery with textual claims, as it was common for English collectors during this time, was not intended and did not reflect Palmerston’s cultural ambitions. The collection was used as a status symbol, it reflected the social standing of the family.

Ch. Vorster, Museo Gregoriano Profano. Römische Skulpturen des späten Hellenismus und der Kaiserzeit 1. Werke nach Vorlagen und Bildformeln des 5. und 4. Jhs. v. Chr. (1993 -MAR XXII)

In this volume all monuments that are of this categories are listed and were exhibited in the Lateran Palace before 1963. The new listing of the collection in the Museo Gregoriano Profano ex Lateranense made it possible to present the previously unpublished holding from the depots to the public.

A. Scholl u. a., Antike Skulpturen in Farnborough Hall, sowie in Althorp House, Blenheim Palace, Lyme Park und Penrice Castle (1995 -MAR XXIII)


This volume unifies all of the depiction of five English castles. The small collections of Althorp House, Blenheim Palace and Farnborogh Hall not only include ancient original but also modern pieces that reflect the collector’s reception of antiquities. In Lyme Park and Penrice Casle some Attic funerary reliefs (Lyme Park) and a Roman sarcophagus (Penrice Castle) were recorded.

F. Sinn - St. Freyberger, Museo Gregoriano Profano. Grabdenkmäler 2. Die Ausstattung des Hateriergrabs (1995 -MAR XXIV)


Architectural fragments and reliefs found during construction works at the Via Casilina in 1848 could be identified as a Flavian private tomb by a funerary inscription found along with it. Newer research on the location of discovery, especially a three-day sondage in 1970 gave hints for the appearance of the funerary monument. A more detailed investigation of the sculpture that is being undertaken here, gives some information about the complex building history of the tomb and analyzed the narrative reliefs.

I. Jucker, Skulpturen der Antikensammlung Ennetwies (1995 -MAR XXV)


This catalogue of the private collection of the Pestalozzi family mostly consists of emperor and private portraits. Works of idealized sculptures are underrepresented. As in other private collections, the personal taste of the collector can be observed in the unilateral choice of monuments.

J. Raeder, Katalog der antiken Skulpturen in Petworth House (2001 - MAR XXVIII)


The collection that was created by the 2nd Earl of Egremont in the middle of the 18th century remained in its old contexts in Petworth House (West Sussex, England) with about 100 ancient sculptures. Together with a large collection of paintings, it form an essential part of the house’s furnishing, which was given to the National Trust in 1947.