On Scene with Bill Wilson: Rome Museums

Photos by Bill Wilson

This week is Culture Week in Rome. Most of the museums have free or reduced admission. On Sunday we visited the Palazzo Massimo Alle Terme, which contains the ancient art section of the Roman National Museum.
 

Works from Second and First Centuries, Imperial and late Ancient periods are exhibited on three floors.

Works from Second and First Centuries, Imperial and late Ancient periods are exhibited on three floors.


 
I found the sculptures that date back 2000 years to be incredibly beautiful and while there have been books written on the subject I thought it best to just introduce a few of my new friends by quoting from the display information.
 
This portrait of an unknown Roman citizen shows traits that are typical of the late Hellenistic tradition and was carved around the second quarter of the first century.

This portrait of an unknown Roman citizen shows traits that are typical of the late Hellenistic tradition and was carved around the second quarter of the first century.


 
This head, the back of which was not completed, shows markedly realistic clear features. The style is a blend of Greek art and Italic tradition, is traceable to Etruscan portraiture of the so called 'Italic cubism' of the III century BC.

This head, the back of which was not completed, shows markedly realistic clear features. The style is a blend of Greek art and Italic tradition, is traceable to Etruscan portraiture of the so called 'Italic cubism' of the III century BC.


 
The neck is cut for insertion of the head into a bust of a statue. The person portrayed has been identified as Germanicus (15BC – 19AD).

The neck is cut for insertion of the head into a bust of a statue. The person portrayed has been identified as Germanicus (15BC – 19AD).


 
It is rather overwhelming to walk through gallery after gallery of such beautiful and ancient works of art. But even to me there were some recognizable names among the works.
 
The young woman with elaborate hairstyle is the famous poet, Sappho (612 – 580 BC). This replica may have been produced in the 16 or 18th centuries possibly reworking and polishing an ancient work.

The young woman with elaborate hairstyle is the famous poet, Sappho (612 – 580 BC). This replica may have been produced in the 16 or 18th centuries possibly reworking and polishing an ancient work.


 
Alexander the Great

Alexander the Great


 
Socrates

Socrates


 
One of the floors of this museum is devoted to showing the decorative arts as they were used in luxurious villas. The reconstruction of frescoed rooms is extraordinary.
 
Room from the villa found in the gardens of the Farnesina along the Tiber in 1879, believed to belong to Augustus’ friend Agrippa, who married his daughter, Julia, in 19 BC

Room from the villa found in the gardens of the Farnesina along the Tiber in 1879, believed to belong to Augustus’ friend Agrippa, who married his daughter, Julia, in 19 BC


 
Livia’s Villa Garden Room. Livia was the wife of Augustus.

Livia’s Villa Garden Room. Livia was the wife of Augustus.


 
Amid all the classical splendor the basement of this museum contains a reminder of what make the world go round. Yes, there are coins from ancient to modern times. It also includes ancient luxury items and examples of the way wealth was extended to after death. 
 
An ancient scale.

An ancient scale.


 
This is just a small sampling from one of many museums we hope to visit in the next week.

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