Statue of Augustus from Prima Porta
Ca. 20—17 BCE.
Inv. No. 2290.Rome, Vatican Museums, Chiaramonti Museum, New Wing, 14Photo by Sergey Sosnovskiy

Statue of Augustus from Prima Porta.

Ca. 20—17 BCE.
Inv. No. 2290.

Rome, Vatican Museums, Chiaramonti Museum, New Wing, 14
(Roma, Musei Vaticani, Museo Chiaramonti, Braccio nuovo, 14).

Statue of the Augustus of Prima Porta, wearing a lorica (leather cuirass). Found in 1863 in Livia’s Villa on the Via Flaminia, near Prima Porta, from which the statue takes its name. The portrait head identifies the figure as Augustus, who is represented in the pose of adlocutio: his right arm is raised, and the fact that he is wearing armour suggests that he is addressing his soldiers. The relief decorations on the cuirass are of special interest. The central scene refers to an event that took place in 20 B.C.: a Parthian King (Phraates IV?) returns the Roman military insignia, lost by Crassus in 53 B.C., to Augustus’ legate (Tiberius). The whole cosmos witnesses this success of the Augustan policy of pacification: above, Caelus raising his outspread mantle, Sol on a quadriga, and, in front of him, personifications of Dawn and Dew, below, Tellus, the Roman earth goddess; at the sides, Apollo, holding a lyre, on a winged griffin, and Diana, holding a torch, on a stag. At the sides of the central scene are two seated female figures, personifications of provinces (Germania and Dalmatia?). The only decoration on the back of the cuirass is the rough outline of a tropaeum. The weight-bearing leg is supported by the figure of Cupid riding a dolphin (an allusion to Venus, progenitrix of the gens Julia, to which Augustus belonged). The emperor’s bare feet are in keeping with the heroic treatment of the subject (the position of the legs was taken from the Doryphoros). This is a copy, probably made for Livia after the death of Augustus (14 A.D.), of a bronze statue erected in honour of Augustus shortly after 20 B.C.
(сс) 2008. Photo: Sergey Sosnovskiy (CC BY-SA 4.0).
Text: museum inscription to the sculpture.
© 2005 Description: Guide to the Vatican: Museums and City. Edizioni Musei Vaticani, pp. 39—40 (ISBN 88-86921-78-0).
Keywords: portrait portraiture ritratto ritrattistica porträtmalerei porträt απεικόνιση of a man male maschile uomo männliches mann masculin un homme porträtstatue statua loricata lorica cuirassed cuirass armor armour corazzata armatura kürassierte rüstung cuirassée armure roman romana römisches romain imperial imperiale kaiserliches impérial αυτοκρατορικό imperator octavianus augustus emperor octavian august imperatore romano ottaviano augusto römischer kaiser empereur octave octavien auguste ρωμαίος αυτοκράτορας οκταβιανός αύγουστος iulio-claudia iulii-claudii julii-claudii the julio-claudian dynasty dinastia giulio-claudia julisch-claudische dynastie famille julio-claudienne julio-claudiens ιουλιο-κλαυδιανή δυναστεία sculptura sculpture sculptural scultura skulptur γλυπτική romani römisch römische römischen romaine romains romaines ρωμαϊκό statuae statue statues statui statuen statuons ἄγαλμα άγαλμα standing in piedi stehende pédestre marble from prima porta cloak dolphin eros amor amore cupid cupido 14 inv no 2290