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The Gilded Bronzes of Cartoceto di Pergola - Essay Example

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The first view of the Gilded Bronzes of Cartoceto di Pergola impacts the senses with graceful lines and intricate detail, not to mention their sheer size, even though they are incomplete. For the first time, the group has been displayed outside Italy at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, being transported from the Museum of the Gilded Bronzes and of the City of Pergola in Italy…
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The Gilded Bronzes of Cartoceto di Pergola
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Download file to see previous pages The late Republican period was known to use monumental images to underline Roman power (The Famous Gilded Bronzes).
The fact that these spectacular sculptures were discovered in 1946 as mostly fragments in a shallow pit by two farmers working in their field near the City of Pergola makes their reproduction in such detail quite amazing. However, because they were in fragments, the sculptures were saved from being melted down for re-use of the metals, a common practice in ancient times. Gian Mario Spacca, president of the region of the Marches, is quoted as saying, "This group of gilded bronzes conveys all the beauty and mystery of Ancient Rome . . . Their unknown story and accidental discovery are a remarkable demonstration of the miracle of these lands, the Marches, which can reveal superb works of art, testimony to the talent and importance of a culture recognized all over the world" (The Famous Gilded Bronzes). It took from 1948 to 1986 to restore and reconstruct these statues. The very fact that these statues were destroyed triggers the imagination. The figures are obviously based on actual models. Could it be that the group fell out of favor at some time, and that is why the statues were crumbled and buried Could the figures be related in some way to Augustus It has been determined that they were created in the 1st century B.C., but when were they buried and why were they destroyed
Historical Background
The Roman Republic was established in 509 B.C., but political rivalries in the first century B.C. led to civil wars and the eventual collapse of the Republic. The Roman imperial period began in 30-27 B.C. with the principate of Augustus. Between 27 B.C. and A.D. 14, Rome was transformed into a city of marble. Julius Caesar had been assassinated in 44 B.C. and his nephew Octavius ruled as Emperor Augustus. The Hellenistic or Augustan period introduced the accurate depiction of age from children to adult to old age. Use of bronze made possible immediacy and naturalistic detail (Hemingway 3). Comparison of the gilded bronze family group of Pergola with the Greek sculptures of 50 B.C. to 1 B.C. indicate many similarities in style. Because it is not known or even conjectured that any specific sculptor created the family group, it is quite possible that a Greek sculptor was responsible or that the style was copied. The Romans first came into contact with the Greeks in the 3rd century B.C. in Southern Italy and in Sicily where Greek colonies had been established five hundred years earlier (Roman Sculpture). The illustrations on page 7 offer comparisons with each other. The knight (A) in the family group (late 1st century B.C.) is bald with one lock of hair towards the forehead, closely set eyes and bitterly straight mouth (The Gilded Bronzes: Knight). He is thought to be mature, between 40 and 50 years old. The tunic worn by the knight is one worn by a Roman officer of high rank. The statue of the young boy (B), thought to be Gaius, adopted grandson of Emperor Augustus, also resembles the knight, but with a softer expression (Portrait Statue of Young Boy). Another statue (C), dated 1st century B.C./A.D., shows a man carrying two ancestral busts. The one on the right could be the knight in the family gro ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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