On our second day in Rome, we visited the Capitoline Museum. This museum is most famous for its statuary. It was founded in 1471, when the pope donated some of the statues to the museum.

This picture is of one of the museum’s buildings. The museum sits on Capitol Hill, the main square of which was used as a religious center in ancient Rome. Michelangelo, at the behest of the pope,  transformed the square into a Christian site during the Renaissance. The statue shown in this picture is a reproduction of one of Marcus Aurelius. During the Middle Ages, Christians mistakenly identified this statue as Constantine, which spared it from destruction. The original statue was placed in the square in 1538. More recently, it was moved inside the museum and this copy was placed in the square. Here’s a closer look at the copy:

Here’s my picture of the original work, which is featured prominently inside the museum:

Many of the statues from ancient Rome are gargantuan. The statue below, for example, also stands in the courtyard outside the museum. I tried to get some people in the shot so that the scale is more apparent.

The next image is of the head of a statue of Constantine. The original statue was apparently a colossus. Parts of it are scattered throughout the Palazzo dei Conservatori, one of the first areas you see when you enter the museum.

One of my favorite works in this museum is this one, which is a bronze statue of Hercules:

Another great work is “The Dying Gaul,” a statue about one of the men defeated by the Romans under Julius Caesar:

The Gauls were related to the Celts. Seeing this statue reminded me of one of my early lectures in my Brit Lit survey class this past quarter. Julius Caesar first came to England because the Celts there had aided their relatives in Gaul. In addition to being nude, this statue is interesting due to the distinctive mustache, something the Celts were apparently famous for at this time.

This museum also features a segment of the Temple of Jupiter, which once stood on this spot. What’s really impressive about this fragment is the model that stands next to it. This model shows how small the fragment you’re standing next to really is when compared to the entire temple. (The fragment is actually rather large.) It really impresses you with how huge the temple was.

I almost forgot to mention the She-Wolf of Rome! Each of the cities we visited has a representative emblem. Rome’s is the she-wolf:

The original statue of the she-wolf Etruscan; the babies, Romulus and Remus, were added later. As the traditional founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus being suckled by a she-wolf is an apt image to represent the city. This statue stands outside the museum and just around a corner back towards the Forum.

The museum was very interesting. As the first museum we visited in Rome, I thought it was particularly helpful. It gave us a sense of history, religion, and art during ancient times. I definitely recommend it.

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