Bust of Emperor Caracalla (born 188, reigned A.D. 211 - 217)

Object Details

Title:

Bust of Emperor Caracalla (born 188, reigned A.D. 211 - 217)

Artist/Maker(s):

Bartolomeo Cavaceppi (Italian, 1716/1717 - 1799)

Culture:

Italian

Place(s):

Rome, Italy (Place created)

Date:

about 1750 - 1770

Medium:

Marble

Dimensions:

71 cm, 53.978 kg (27 15/16 in., 119 lb.)

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Caracalla, one of the bold and brutal Roman emperors who ruled in the early 200s A.D., murdered his brother in his ascent to power and later was himself assassinated. In this marble bust, he wears a soldier's cuirass and toga. Turning his head to the left, he focuses on something that apparently does not meet with his approval. He flares his nostrils and furrows his brow, movements perhaps intended to suggest his ferociousness.

In the 1700s, Caracalla's likeness was known from a bust in the Farnese collection in Rome and then Naples, believed to date from the 200s. Sculptor Bartolomeo Cavaceppi drew on this famous prototype for his marble bust of Caracalla. Carved during a period in which collectors bought sculptures all' antica, this bust was probably intended for an English collector's Neoclassical gallery.

Cavaceppi was best known for his restorations of antique sculpture rather than for his rare original works, such as this one. He demonstrated his familiarity with classicism through his skillful drillwork in the antique manner, seen in the handling of Caracalla's beard and hair. This bust is one of Cavaceppi's rare signed works.

Provenance
- 1994

Private Collection (New York, New York) [sold, Sotheby's, New York, June 6, 1994, lot 112.]

1994

Daniel Katz Ltd. (London, England), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1994.

Exhibitions
Art in Rome in the Eighteenth Century (March 16 to September 17, 2000)
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art, (Philadelphia), March 16 to May 28, 2000
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, June 25 to September 17, 2000
The Getty Commodus: Roman Portraits and Modern Copies (December 18, 2008 to June 1, 2009)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa, (Malibu), December 18, 2008 to June 1, 2009
L'Antiquité rêvée: innovations et résistances au XVIIIe siècle (December 2, 2010 to May 30, 2011)
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, March 20 to May 30, 2011
Bibliography

Sotheby's Art at Auction: The Art Market Review, 1993-94 (London, 1994), p. 194.

"Acquisitions/1994." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 23 (1995), p. 121, no. 100.

Sotheby's, London. Sale catalogue, 7 December 1995, under lot 96.

Fusco, Peter. Summary Catalogue of European Sculpture in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 15, ill.

Bassett, Jane, and Peggy Fogelman. Looking at European Sculpture: A Guide to Technical Terms (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 25.

Bowron, E. Peters, and Rishel, J.J., eds. Art in Rome in the Eighteenth Century, exh. cat. (Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art; Houston: Museum of Fine Arts, 2000), p. 241, no. 119 (entry by Peggy Fogelman).

Faroult, Guillaume, et al., eds. Antiquity Revived: Neoclassical Art in the Eighteenth Century, exh. cat. (Houston: Museum of Fine Arts, with Musée du Louvre and Gallimard, 2011), p. 41, no. 3, ill. entry by Edgar Peters Bowron.

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    Audio: Bust of Emperor Caracalla / Alexis Smith