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Portrait of Hadrian

Roman art

130 AD c.
Second floor, lift area
Greek marble
cm 57 (height)
1914 n. 8

The portrait depicts the emperor Hadrian (117-138 AD), with an oval face and wide forehead, facing right. This emperor took unusual care of his image. During his reign, in fact, he commissioned at least seven official images of himself, more than Augustus himself, who boasted only five portrait types, and decidedly more than his successor, Antoninus Pius, who, although he reigned longer than Hadrian, had only two authorised effigies made. Part of the nose and ears have undoubtedly been integrated at a later date, as well as the lower portion of the left shoulder, while the bust, with its harness and the mask of Medusa on the chest, on the whole is authentic. Of undoubted interest is the hairstyle on the emperor's forehead, which by virtue of its particular curls is identified with an archaic type: hence it is believed that the portrait may have been made around 130 AD, when Hadrian obtained the honorary titles of Olympios and Pater Patriae. The Florentine portrait is in all likelihood to be ascribed to Attic workshops which were also responsible for the elaboration of the portrait of Antinous, the lover of the emperor deified after his early death.



A. Romualdi (a cura di), Studi e restauri. I marmi antichi della Galleria degli Uffizi, II, Firenze, Polistampa, 2007 (con contributi di A. Romualdi, Ritratto di Adriano (117-138 d.C.), pp. 190-194; M. Masini, P. Rosa, Il restauro, pp. 195-199 e bibliografia precedente.

Text by
Fabrizio Paolucci
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