Portrait of Lucius Aelius
The work, which has been recorded in the Gallery since the early 1700s, is formed by an old head on a modern, armoured bust, featuring a Medusa’s head i the centre. It depicts a man with a lean, triangular face, low forehead and some wrinkles that show his older age. His mouth is partly concealed by a full moustache, while the chin and cheeks are covered by a thick, elegantly carved beard. Part of the hair is a modern addition. The portrait is of Lucius Aelius Commodus, born in 100 A.D. whose family had ancient Etruscan origins. Famed for his luxurious lifestyle, dedicated to pleasure, Lucius Aelius was made heir to Hadrian in 136 A.D. with the name Aelius Caesar. Sources state that he always kept two books by his bed, a collection of erotic poetry by Ovid and a treatise by Apion, dedicated to luxury. Lucius Aelius attracted the envy of many of his contemporaries, due to his adoption as Hadrian’s successor and died suddenly in 138 A.D., leaving a son, Lucius Verus, who was adopted, together with Marcus Aurelius by emperor Antoninus Pius.
3D Model realized in collaboration with Indiana University.