Thursday, June 2, 2016

An addendum or two for Berthouville

I may yet find the Seated Centaur in the Naples Museum, but for now:
Paris, Cabinet des Médailles.  One of the silver Berthouville scyphi (two-handled cups, as you see).  These have male and female (as here) centaurs variously relating to wine and sex.  Outstanding examples of luxury art with the same repertory and feeling as the large old and young centaurs. 

Berlin, St. M. (Pergamum Museum).  Detail of the tendril border of the mosaic by Hephaistion of Pergamon.  Stone tesserae.  Pergamon, ca. 150 BC.

It was mad with my old Nikon, with its single lens, knowing that even if flash photography had been allowed, it didn't work in those old galleries and through glass, but I took it at about 1/30 sec and f2.0—I so desired to have an image of at least one of the cups.  I share it because at least it looks like silver, faintly tarnished, in real light and real space.

Mosaics are much easier, and the huge central galleries of the Pergamon Museum are as bright and open as any century-old galleries could be.  Also, these royal Pergamene mosaics seem to me to represent the pinnacle of Hellenistic (and specifically Pergamene) skill and taste.  This would be the standard that Hadrian wanted his art at Tivoli to aspire to.  The colors are pretty close to true, as true as scans from 30-year-old slides can be: both lively and subtle.

More and more I am possessed by the desire to understand both the endurance of the traditions and what they suffered in the course of time and change.  I mean, much as I love the Piazza Armerina mosaics, which date from the Imperial Tetrarchy, or even from the reign of Constantine, and themselves are palace art, they are about 480 years later than, say, Attalos II at Pergamon.  I mean, there must have been a real passion to hold onto their traditions.


See Lion relief, below.  This detail gives its 'sacro-idyllic' setting.
Not aware that this beautifully carved well head would not be found in most of the handbooks, I later realized that much of our UC Berkeley 1950s slide collection had been made from Rodenwaldt's Die Kunst der Antike,  evidently, I was struck by the perfectly preserved sacro-idyllic background to the lion and the ewe, where there may have been restorers' work; after all, the finding place of this piece was not known, so the Julio-Claudian dating given it must be based on style and technique.  Now, older, I gave thought also to the longevity, as much as half a millennium, of the sacro-idyllic manner, evidently expressing the neverland, bucolic character of Theocritan poetry from the High Hellenistic third century BCE.  The landscape background of the "Tellus" relief of the Ara Pacis Augustae and the stucco ceiling of the Farnesina house give us the very delicate Augustan version of this, with the large and substantial female figure of the "Tellus" dominating.  Here, too, the substantial, high relief animals are so dominant that in my undergraduate youth I hadn't paid much attention to the dainty flowers and the delightful gnarled branches set off by Dionysiac paraphernalia and richly rendered rockwork.  Now, in the 1980s (but still on film with a Nikon F2), I took the details shown here.  I still hadn't thought that it has to have been the higher-relief, richly undercut carving that also distinguishes Julio-Claudian architectural decorative relief that, as J. B. Ward-Perkins pointed out (Roman Imperial Architecture, Penguin, PB edition, p. 40, fig. 16), must be post-Augustan restoration.  The Berthouville cups, for their part, are similarly distinguished from Augustan silver.  One must always be careful not to relish and swallow what one has just understood for the first time, but the insight (better gotten late than never!) has been borne out by all the pictures of Roman art that I have had access to.  Doubtless J. Babelon saw it, too, but there, in a nutshell, is the difference between learning and memorizing; such as I am, I could not rejoice more than I do in realizing it.  But I mulled it over for weeks before writing it here.  

See the Ewe relief, below.  This detail gives its 'sacro-idyllic' setting, actually more interesting than the lioness's.

Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum.  One of the pair of reliefs from an indoor fountain, with mother animals in sacro-idyllic settings.  There is some conservators' work, but mainly in the animals (the lion's face, for example).  Rodenwaldt's  KdA places them in the Claudian section, but I do not have available data for their find-spot, though I suppose in Rome.

Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum.  One of the pair of reliefs from an indoor fountain, with mother animals in sacro-idyllic settings.  There is some conservators' work, but mainly in the animals (the lion's face, for example).  Rodenwaldt's  KdA places them in the Claudian section, but I do not have available data for their find-spot, though I suppose in Rome.  I suspect a little more restoration in the sheep than in the lioness/

The other thing that I want to share is my wonder at the longevity of a vital sacro-idyllic manner to about a half millennium.  It begins to be rather academic, I think, under Hadrian or, at any rate, under the Antonines.  Here it is still alive, but after Septimius, at the latest, it never revives, no matter how hard they try.  Of course, the fleece of the ewe, above, is, in my opinion, heavily retouched in modern times.

Finally, here are two photographs from that same Kunst der Antike, which I have never seen in any other publcation to which I have access.  They uniquely have centaurs erotically driven just as the Berthouville ones are, and placed alongside the walls of the black room of the House of the Vettii.  KdI, p. 726, nos. 588 and Taf. XXXVIII.  They are "from Pompeii" but no house is cited so that presumably, like the reliefs above, they must have come from early, undocumented digging.

I don't see how they could be forgeries, but one may ask how heavily retouched they may have been, especially the one reproduced only in grayscale.  Could they have been destroyed in one of the Naples earthquakes?  If so, however, the colorplate made anew by the Propylaeen Verlag expressly for KdA would be well worth reproducing, for example (quite apart from the Berthouville cups) as a comparandum to the Borghese and Furietti centaurs.
If my dear friend P. G. Burbules hadn't found this ex-library copy and sent it to me, I'd never have seen it, either.  And now, unless they find these centaurs right here, neither will anyone in Bozerman, Montana (whose State College deaccessioned it).

Does anyone know about these centaurs?
They share their sentiments as well as their types with the Borghese Centaur and the Berthouville cups.

8 July 2016.  As I listen to discussion of the disadvantages of being non-white, I must wonder whether living in states where it is assumed that Nobody reads German or is interested in centaurs...  All credit to Texas as to California, anyone in our state universities has a chance to be a lucky Nobody.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Berthouville cups at the Cabinet des Médailles

Bacchic Centaurs in a Synopsis of Greco-Roman Art

Paris, Louvre.  From Carthage.  Constantinian: the types of Eros and the whole Bacchic troop remain constant

By the later second century BCE and thereafter, the "Dionysian and heroic styles were parts of the same artistic or expressive spectrum": R. R. R. Smith, in The Oxford History of Classical Art, OUP, 1993, edited by John Boardman, pp. 204-205.  R. R. R. Smith is also the author of Hellenistic Sculpture in the World of Art series and both texts are worth reading.  The Furietti Centaurs from Hadrian's Villa at Tivoli are in harder stone and more academic in their treatment; besides the Tivoli Old Centaur has no baby Eros.  When I was a child I wondered whether the Eros was part of the original, though, of course, compositionally as well as iconographically, he had to be, and Cézanne was right to love this statue.  The head of anguish on the old centaur is similar to other anguished Hellenistic heads, but the Eros is uniquely masterly.  There are some contemptible 20th-century centaurs reproduced in Google Images (though the Disney ones in the Pastoral Symphony, in the original Fantasia, even if they may be too cute, do have real charm, and, of course, centaurs of both sexes and lots of sentimentality do go back to at least to the Classical period) but I won't discuss the latest ones, evidently less than a half century old, which look as if they came from Sci-Fi or Fantasy Fiction.
Paris, Louvre.  The Borghese Centaur.  
If you would like a fine catalogue of centaurs in their prime period, the Archaic, I recommend the Princeton University exhibition catalogue edited by J. Michael Padgett, The Centaur's Smile. Perhaps you will agree that centaurs play a different role after, approximately, the Peloponnesian War.  That is, they offer something different for viewers to relate to.
Anyway, that is why I came to use the Borghese baby Eros in lieu of my high school yearbook photo for myself on line.  In art history courses, 60 years ago, I was actually discouraged from admiring this art, and of course it is not because Eros is erotic that I love it: I rank it right up there with Verrocchio's putto in Florence.
As R. R. R. Smith said, these works dwell in an artistic expressive realm where Bacchus and Eros dwell alike.  I'd love to know the immediate source of the dancing infant with beribboned thyrsos and kantharos on the copper coin (above) that Thracian Philippopolis issued for Marcus Aurelius (it is my favorite coin).
Notice that the shape and spirit of a Bacchic Baby is like an Eros (see at heading)
Berlin.  Detail (in a teaching snapshot) of the Centaur Family.

This is the realm, of course, of the Berthouville cups, which recently came to the Getty Museum for technical study.  Anyone who had doubted whether the Old Centaur properly had the Eros, and anyone who doubted whether centaurs dwell in heterosexual families was just wrong.  We have, rendered in micro-mosaic, a Hadrianic copy in the Berlin Museum of the Centaur Family pitiably attacked by a predator, copying evidently the famous painting of ca. 400 BCE.*  
My modern favorites are Winsor McCay's of 1921 (see You-Tube, q.v., for most of the surviving parts), but I shall refrain from discussing them here.  Concerning centaurs, there is too much else to consider.
* At the end of this post, I provide a list of illustrations, pro tem, of famous works that I cite without having adequate images.
I cannot recall, or find even in Asia Minor, among all the exotic composite creatures that Greek art borrowed, preserved, and transmitted to us through the Romans, any early centaurs.  Traditionally Greece assigned them to Thessaly, but the name itself is of unknown origin (the suggestions are all of a later, literary period).  They must be aboriginally, truly Greek.  When the Lefkandi centaur (H. 36cm, Protogeometric, dated ca. 900 BCE), was found, it left, I think, no doubt.*  Today it is illustrated in every textbook, but it has such presence (to use the art critic's favorite epithet) that it reminds us that power, nobility, humor, etc., etc., are not due to realism or expressive facial expression but solely to the artist's vision and ability to imbue the work with it.  Now, Lefkandi (Euboea) is Greece, but by ship it is close to the Aegean Islands and thence to Anatolia, yet I cannot find any early centaurs farther east.  Even satyrs, like all the rest of the Orientals, like griffins, pegasoi, and all the rest that Greek art bequeathed to our Middle Ages and so to the Renaissance and many a graphic novela.  By the way, many of the creatures that Wiki Commons and Google Images have swept up, it seems, s.v. Centaur, are no such thing.  It is great to have the images, but the labels and captions are not to be trusted; what the creator of Little Nemo got right, so can we.

So finally to Berthouville.  The catalogue has exhaustive bibliography, but these are basic:
—Kenneth Lapatin, ed., "The Berthouville Silver Treasure and Roman Luxury," Los Angeles, the Getty Museum, 2014.
—Jon Van de Grift, "Tears and Revel, the Allegory of the Berthouville Centaur Scyphi", American Journal of Archaeology 88, 1984, pp. 377–388, 386–387, ills. 1–1, pls. 51–53.

Naturally, I cannot use the brand-new photographs from the 2014 catalogue, and the generous supply of photos s.v. Berthouville in Google Images are mostly of the most winsome centauress (chosen also for the catalogue's dust jacket) or are small and poor images, while the photographs used by Van de Grift probably were made for Babelon's 1916 monograph and, even though the reproductions are small, they are useful.  However, I must say that the Getty Foundation has priced their scholarly and and beautiful catalogue quite affordably, and Amazon has it.  Indeed, I learned of it, here in the deep South where I live, thanks to Amazon's very well programed servers, which, when I ordered the book on Hellenistic sculpture (also published by the Getty Foundation), instantly suggested the Berthouville book as well.  As for Jon Van de Grift, his article, abstracted from his dissertation (its committee eminently well chosen for this work), is the only thing he has published, or taught, on Greek and Roman art, as I learned from my Google searches: I wanted to make sure that he had not died.

I had forgotten how much I must have forgotten (if, as I doubt, I had ever thought through the subject) about the representation of centaurs in Greek art.  But if I am ever to complete this initial blog post, as such, I must do so now.

Here I shall illustrate only a few of my favorites, which also are good examples, I think, of what I've been mulling over, favoring less well known works.  For example, on the cusp from Archaic to Early Classical art, the attack of the centaurs on the goddess Iris by the Kleophrades Painter,* whose indomitable joyous energy prevents his rowdy image from being merely typical of its time.  Or the centaur on the Broomhall krater,* still essentially Late Geometric, a vigorous man-beast, a wild creature with anthropoid potential to educate heroes.  Here Greek art verges on the utter humanity of the Ram Jug Painter's amphora in Berlin, just decades later, where Peleus knows to hand over the infant Achilles to the wise centaur Chiron. the tutor of heroes.  There may have been folklore about Chiron for generations, but here an innately empathetic artist brings us to the dawn of literary storytelling: it consists of fragments of a huge vase, but, between Beazley's description* and the early-digital photos that I tried to get, you can make out the infant in his short-sleeved chiton handed over to Chiron.
Chiron, like the Broomhall centaur, is shown returning from the hunt
Carefully reassembled, using the curvature as well as the story, we see the infant Achilles proffered on the palm of Peleus
I have searched, so far in vain, for a reproduction of the Pompeian copy of the famous Classical painting showing Chiron earnestly, charmingly, tutoring the boy Achilles: it introduced the four-legged Chiron comfortably seated on his hindquarters!  This wonderful addition to one centaur's urbanity exists, usually fragmentary, in sculptured copies, too.  It is important here to document the ever-increasing (since the Pompeian wall-painting, in this case, is very fine) humanizing of the centaurs by about the early fourth century BCE, reminding us, as so often, of the virtuosity and beauty of the all-but-wholly lost Greek painting, which was as famous in its time as Renaissance painting of the 16th century in its turn.  Indeed, it was the tantalizing ancient descriptions of famous Classical paintings, both mural and, especially, panel paintings, that at least as much as statuary brought about the European Renaissance: our temptation to recover, somehow, though mistaken wishful thinking, is itself an important element in the individualistic emphasis that makes our art seem alien to most Asian traditions (except Chinese): not so much our centaurs, et al., as our humanizing them.
Here we come to that stream of art styles often called Hellenistic Rococo in handbooks (because it seems in the eighteenth century to follow Classical, as if there were some organic sequence at work) which, again, recurs and this time must have been due, indeed, to surviving Early Roman Imperial workshops and treasured collectibles.

The styles used for heroic centauromachies, never equaling the west pediment of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia* and the centaur metopes of the Parthenon all are different, and the story of the wild horse-men of Thessaly itself, in surviving works, is less popular than the sentimental and psychological stories: is it that a disseminated, Hellenistic culture is not culturally significant in the same way as that before Alexander?  Of the heroes, in Archaic and Classical art, it is Herakles that most often deals with centaurs, such as Nessos or Pholos.*

The silver-gilt dedications from the Gallo-Roman sanctuary of Mercury (using the Latin name for the local cult) are not all of the same date; the scyphi are dated by comparison with those from Hoby, which are, say, a couple of generations earlier.
Fragment of cameo glass with Bacchic subject
The Louvre has a fragment of cameo glass that reminds us that the neo-Classical style of the Portland Vase and the Hoby cups does not date this continuation of Hellenistic Rococo, a different maniera.
Not all garland bearers are of this quality, but this one may be from the Forum of Trajan and combines stocky style with the levity typical of its subject
Being architectural and superior, the fragment of Garland Bearers (probably from the Forum of Trajan) is celebratory in spirit but sturdy in style.
An ancient treasure collectible, recycled and redesigned
Among the treasures in the wonderful Schatzkammer gallery that opens opposite the Café Richelieu in the Louvre, marked by the unique bronze equestrian statuette of Charlemagne or one of his successors, his orb being explicitly Imperial though his horse's forelegs are rather rubbery, are some of the best ivory diptychs.  Remade in the early middle ages, here is a cameo framed in a jeweled border topped by a classical gorgoneion and supported by lions at the lower corners; it represents Bacchus and Ariadne in a frontal chariot, drawn by four centaurs splayed to left and right, celebrating them in gesture (and one at left blows a trumpet).  It is that reversion to frontality and symmetry, framed by the representation of jeweled glory, that epitomizes the rejection of illusions.

The subject, however, and indeed the frontality that converts a scene into an icon, are much older.  See the bronze coin of Commodus, in a specimen from the Athenian Agora, that with centaurs (think of the NYC Public Library's flanking lions) glorifies the cult of Asklepios.  Here, if not earlier (since Commodus is not all that early, but it may belong to the Pergamene cult that catered to the whole Greek Imperial world), we have the kind of art that impressed late Medieval and early Renaissance artists in the treasuries of cathedrals and monasteries, which wealthy Florentine and Flemish collectors and cardinals and popes emulated—the ancestry of the Cabinet des Médailles itself (which has its share of large, fine ancient coins).
This large third-century sarcophagus has it all, the Bacchic thiasos with the joyous centaurs, and the portraits of the deceased, promoted to eternal bliss, in the center, in place of Bacchus and Ariadne themselves.

Now, the whole range of subject matter, of centaurs of both sexes, of their involvement in wine and sex, of their message of intoxication, relate them very intricately with the Borghese centaur, with the Furietti pair and the micro-mosaic picture from Tivoli, of the perfect understanding and mastery of this 'rococo' style, place the Berthouville scyphi and the cups in Naples (not discussed here) in a class by themselves.  So little, if we may judge from literature, has been preserved.  Silver-gilt table service is at the mercy of history's worst looters.  The motifs themselves, of course, are Bacchic (theatrical), but the workmanship and the materials and the long continuity of the tradition (think of all the best work in silver that, so far, has survived from the early modern centuries).
This Post is less than I should wish, but I hope that the centaurs' continuity and its consistency with the general history of Greek art, and its Greco-Roman dissemination, seem plain though I have used only a very few illustrations.
There is so little work of such sophistication surviving.  Cicero's Verrines shows how famously artistic silver table ware was a treasure that the unscrupulous would die for, though they hoped to escape with it.  J. Babelon and today's specialists have devoted lifetimes of study to this rare treasure, and of all the treasures in the Cabinet des Médailles, this was the one I was most surprised to find   (during renovations) spending more than a year in America.  When I first saw it more than thirty years ago I had gone to see the Brygos Painter's kylix with satyrs dancing ecstatically around Dionysos, * a work of genius if ever there was one (his contemporary, Makron, a wonderful vase-painter in his own right, used the same motif, but it is static).  I had never heard of Berthouville, but I never forgot it.

Here are the references that the red asterisks lead to:
The Centaur Family from Hadrian's Villa at Tivoli: in Beazley's abbreviated translation of Pfuhl's Masterpieces of Greek Drawing and Painting, fig. 119.
The Centaur from Lefkandi: a different view, Hampe & Simon, The Birth of Greek Art, fig. 177.
The centaurs attacking Iris by the Kleophrades Painter: ARV2, 1963, p. 191, no. 102.  A detail is given by Boardman (World of Art) Athenian Red-Figure Vases of the Archaic Period, fig. 139.
The Broomhall krater: Beazley, The Development of Attic Black-Figure.  For this vase and the next, the original Sather Lectures edition, 1949, pl. II, is best.
The Ram Jug Painter's Peleus: Idem, pl. IV, shows the fragments before reassembled.
The Seated Centaur: neither the published illustration nor my old photograph has so far been located.
The West Pediment (Centauromachy) of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia: see, in the blog, a Traditional Art History, for the Early Classical period, Prints A89 and MA86.
Herakles and Pholos: T. H. Carpenter, Art and Myth in Ancient Greece, fig. 185.
The Brygos Painter's cup with satyrs dancing around Dionysos: again, in Beazley's translation of Pfuhl, fig. 40.
There are, of course, less easily accessed illustrations of some of these.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Hadrian Portrait Supplement

Portraits andTypes, 117-8 to near the end of his reign
The world of portraits and associations on coins is more varied than that of statuary!

04 X 99  AR denarius  Hadrian (AD 118: Cos II).  Laureate bust right.  IMP CAESAR TRAIAN HADRIANVS AVG.  Rev:  PAX (looking like Abundantia, with cornucopiae and ears of grain): P M TR P  COS II (the second consulship is AD 118).

15 V 00 AR denarius.  Hadrian, left-draped bust to r., laureate: IMP CAESAR TRAIAN HADRIANVS [AVG.  Pietas stg frontal, facing l.  P M TR P  COS II and PIE TAS across field.  AD 118.  RIC 45.
This Rome mint denarius shows Hadrian at the beginning of his reign.  Compare the fourth coin, below.  Note, too, that this bust is what, to be accurate, is described as 'bare, with drapery on his left shoulder'.  Altogether bare would communicate some degree of real divinity, and the reverse type (whose meaning need not always be significantly related to the obverse) claims only Pietas (not quite the same as modern piety, but expressive of family and civic values).

04 I 00 AR denarius  Hadrian / Aeternitas with heads of sun and moon.  Obv. IMP CAESAR TRAIN HADRIANVS AVG  Rev.T]R P  COS.DES  III, and, r. and l. of figure, AET AVG.  Eternity stands facing, but her head, facing left, regards the head of Sol (radiate) which she holds in her r. hand, rather than that of Luna (crescent on crown) which she holds in her left.
Like most beginning collectors (once I'd gotten over the thrill of owning an Apollo Sauroktonos different from the one in G. M. A. Richter's Sculpture and Sculptors of the Greeks), I was attracted by  subjects, generically astrological, that someone had taught me belong to Late Imperial art, not Flavian to Hadrianic.  Collecting denarii (and not only in these instances) taught me otherwise: even Augustan is not early for astrology.  But the Aeternitas coins make plain that the line between symbology/iconology and astrology is hard to draw—and we do not, I think, see here anything like Sufi Islam or US American Holy Rollers.
The portrait of Hadrian here is one of those that the textbooks call still rather Trajanic, but the mood of the portrait is already different and notably less swan-necked.

31 X 00 AR denarius.  Trajan (RSC, 1968, 3a: with slight drapery on far shoulder; RIC 91).  IMP TRAIANO AVG GER DAC P M TR P (AD 103-112).  Rev. Aeternitas, veiled, stg looking l., holding the heads of the Sun and the Moon.  AET AVG across field and COS V  P P  S P Q R OPTIMO PRINC around Aeternitas.
So within months (while I was still using Roman numerals for months, which gets them out of order of acquisition), I was delighted to get a Trajan only five or six years earlier than the Hadrian.  Trajan's portraits, in all media, are remarkably consistent.

One of the cities named Aegeai (or -ae) is right at the crotch (or armpit, if you prefer) where Asia Minor meets Syria: east of Tarsus and north of Antioch.  Its bronze coinage just shows a goat; it is the canting badge of Aegeai.  The autonomous (early in his reign) silver "tetradrachms" (not very pure, but the shinier ones like the first here are also lighter), instead of the usual Syrian eagle reverse, have rather delightful mythological subjects.  They are dated, too.  ETOUS DELTA-XI-RHO, which is AD 117-8 in the Caesarian calendar.  And the ethnic is AEGAION.
The obv. legend on both is: AUTOKR KAIS TRAIANOS ADRIANOS SEB (the legends in Greek letters, of course).
The upper portrait, with Amaltheia (search, which includes all the sources), is very strikingly comparable with the PIETAS denarius at the top.
Prieur, Aegeae, p. 85, no. 716.  Amaltheia.  With Aegeai's goat as the type, Amaltheia with her Horn, dandling the infant Zeus, is a natural choice.
Prieur, Aegeae, p. 85, no. 717. Perseus, with harpe.  The harpe, the weapon that decapitated Medousa, is usully curved like a sickle.  Perseus is properly shown as a mere boy.  The portrait of Hadrian is just slightly sturdier, and cuirassed.
Recently published, at the time these coins were available, was:
M. & K. Prieur, The Syro-Phoenician Coins Tetradrachms and their Fractions, from 57 BC to AD 253, Classical Numismatic Group, 2000.

Notice that this little hemidrachm, which was one of my earliest acquisitions and looked curious to me, considered as a portrait of Hadrian, is clearly related to the Pax and Pietas at the top of this Post.  Caesarea in Cappadocia had a long-standing franchise to mint official silver for Rome.  It is the modern Keyseri in Turkey, south of Ankara.  I wonder if my pretty galley (at bottom) could be Cappadocian.

04 X 99  AR hemidrachm (smaller than a dime) of Caesarea in Cappadocia (Asia Minor).  Hadrian, laureate bust to r.   Transliterated the legend is AUTO KAIS TRAI ADRIANOS SEBAST, the Greek equivalent to Imp Caes Trai Hadrianus Aug.  Reverse: Nike advancing r., holding palm and wreath.  EpsilonTauDelta in field is Year 4, or AD 120.  Only a few provincial mints were authorized to issue silver.

Paris, Louvre.  From Heraklion in Crete.  Finely carved, very deliberately Greek, with Athena's gorgoneion on his cuirass.  Beginning in AD 127, he traveled in Greece, usually with Antinoos.  His visit to the Olympieion in Athens and his addition of the epithet Pater Patriae lies behind the Louvre's dating to 127-8.

This finely considered and beautifully carved Greek statue or bust of Hadrian in the Louvre is dated by comparison with coins adding the title PP, Pater Patriae.  The only sestertius of Hadrian readily at hand also may show Hadrian just past his 50th year (he was born in AD 76, in Spain, which is not to say that that he was an Iberian any more than an Anglo-American would be a certified Native American.  The statue, ex-New Iberia (see last Post) surely was thought to be comparable with these PP but not elderly Hadrians.
30 05 07 Æ25 8.07g axis 11h  Egypt, Alexandria.  Hadrian, laureate, draped bust from behind.  Rev., Isis enthroned to r., suckling Harpokrates.  Lotus-bud crown.

This coin debuted in my favorite thread in Forum Ancient Coins: 
What is so great about it is that so many specialists with so many angles and depth of knowledge contributed to it.  True, I initiated it (teaching ancient Egyptian art I brought interest in Isis to my novitiate in ancient coins) with another, lovelier Isis, but the thread became richer than any one of us could have made it.  I keep dreaming of a blog working this way.  If only people weren't (perhaps) afraid of looking silly. In Forum, no one minds looking silly, and we all help one another.

Aegeai in Cilicia
25 03 09 AR4dr Cilicia Aegeae  Prieur cf no. 721 (with long obverse legend)  I cannot read the date on reverse, and this specimen is not illustrated in Prieur, but the long obv legend resembles their no. 721, which dates AD 133-134

Pontos Amisos
12 10 04 ARdr  3.06g  axis 6:00  Pontos Amisos.  Hadrian, laureate, head (with bit of drapery on l. sh.) to r.  AVT K AI TRA ADRIA  |  NOS SEB P P VP G (COS III).  Rev., Demeter veiled stg. frontal, facing l., holding grain in her r., resting on long torch in her l.   AMISOV ELEVTh  |  ERAS ETOVS RZE (=165 =133/4 CE).  Waddington RG I, p. 63, no. 86, pl. IX, fig. 6.
Bithynium Claudiopolis
04 04 08.  AE25.  9.74g, axis 630h.  Bithynium-Claudiopolis.  Hadrian, laureate, bust in armor, from in front.  Rev, Athena in helmet (perhaps with aegis, but not plainly so), wearing peplos, standing r., leaning on spear in her left and holding owl on her l. hand.  For the rev. legend, see http://  For the obverse, at least ADRIANOS (Greek) is plain in the photos here.
Claudiopolis in Bithynia was Antinoos' birthplace.  Not before Hadrian's  first visit there, which was in AD 123 (when Antinoos would have been about twelve).  One of a few portraits that LOOK as if it is based on firsthand knowledge of Hadrian's face in the 120s.

Bithynian mints were very, very good.  Ordinary dies, including many of Rome herself, express Hadrian's aging as he neared 60 by increased formality (as the excellent Aegeai tetradrachm, above, does), but my favorite Hadrian, with Demeter reverse, though contemporary with the Aegeai eagle tetradrachm, really does show a tired-fleshed Hadrian.  The Pontos Amisos denarius that he had struck to honor Sabina when she died shows the famous crouching Aphrodite that may well be the creation of Doidalsos of Bithynia.  Administratively, under the Empire, on the northern coast of Asia Minor, Pontos and Bithynia, side by side, were combined.  See the convenient reference map in David Sear's Roman Provincial Coins, where you can also find lists of equivalent dating systems, for example.
Though my worn, but very rare, Bithynium-Claudiopolis bronze need not be as early as Antinoos's childhood on the occasion of Hadrian's first visit to the place, I suspect that it may be several years earlier than the first PP issues.  A good enlargement of a good photo of the coin can be found in the thread,

Back in Rome
Not all coins marked COS III, but not PP, so far as I have determined, are AD 128 or later.  I do have one Hadrian sestertius,  though, and it looks mature but not elderly (the kind of lively refinement we just saw in Pontos and Bithynia—Rome tended to be somewhat more formal, even in the finest work).  The black goop on the sestertius is typical of coins that had lain on river beds.

27 IX 00 AE sestertius.  Hadrian.  Laureate head r.  HADRIANVS   AVGVSTVS P P.  Rev. Hilaritas stg between two children, boy and girl.  HILARITAS  P R COS III S C.  RIC 970, Sear 1116.
(reference may be to earlier edition)

14 10 08 AR denarius  Rome 3.09g axis 6h.  Hadrian, head, bareheaded, to r.  HADRIANVS  |  AVGVSTVS.  Rev., Tranquilitas, leaning on very slender pillar or column, holding scepter and stg. to l.  TRANQUILIT A  |  S AVG COS III P P.  RIC III, p. 365, no. 222 (a: bare head).

So far as the combing of Hadrian's hair goes and the gracefulness of Hilaritas and Tranquillitas this denarius and sestertius are alike.  Beware of the clogged letters G S, then one I in COS III on the denarius.

09 VI 00 ARden  Hadrian, laureate, draped bust r.  IMP CAESAR TRAIAN HADRIANVS AVG.  Rev., galley oared l., sail furled, P M TR P COS III.

Finally, I do not know how to date the beautifully plump face of the portrait or the unusual galley on this denarius,  which I bought off eBay purely for its appealing design and engraving.  If any of the real Roman numismatists see this, I'd be grateful to be educated.  At one point I thought of the Ephesos mint, but all I can say is that it is atypical for what I know of Rome—and, of course, like Christian apostles and purveyors of other cults, too, and merchants, die engravers and other skilled craftsmen were perfectly free to travel and seek work in Rome.  They only mustn't make forgeries!
I do not keep most of my coins at home, and more than one of these needs to be weighed, too.
A couple of bibliographical first hints to be added.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Hadrian, now emigré from the land of Tabasco Sauce

Once the New Iberia bank made aware that the statue ought not to stand  outdoors (though of course it had been exposed to English rain and snow for a century or so), they modified their own front to attach an octagonal pavilion, appropriately honored by a ficus tree (1981) and allowing him to be seen all round.
No longer the only full-length statue of Hadrian in the USA
The best local notice of its sale is on line.

The bank's personnel were proud of Hadrian, chosen as a Good Emperor and so appropriate to their bank.  New Iberia, with only 20-odd thousand inhabitants but the home of one of Louisiana's best known products, Tabasco Sauce, chose the statue for that reason, when it was for sale in New Orleans. When a professor in ancient art brought over a class of about a dozen students from LSU, only about an hour's drive from New Iberia, with the assurance that they would not touch the marble, they were happy to let them into the pavilion with him (also, careful not to tip over the ficus tree in its tub).  It was wonderful for the students (senior undergraduates) who finally understood what restorations look like and appreciate what we mean by heroic scale (about 18% over life size).  They would write a paper on their observations.

To photograph the statue frontal and full length meant through glass and with a combination of the interior and reflections from the street.  By the time that the portrait head indicates, though a man who valued a fine figure, we have here no more his own body than any other emperor's portrait in this type would use.  It is the emperor as Jupiter, just as for Sabina we find the Type of one of the matron goddesses.  I happen not to have a coin for Hadrian as Jupiter, but the point is well made by Vespasian, who certainly never pretended to be glamorous.  Jupiter Custos also happens to be 100% nude:

 26 11 03 AR denarius Max D 19mm  2.52g  axis 6:00.  Rome, AD 75-79.  Vespasian, laureate, head to r.  From 5:00 counterclockwise, IMP CAESAR  |  VESPASIANUS AVG.  Rev.  Jupiter Custos, nude, stg. head facing l, with scepter in his l. and making offering over burning altar with his r. hand.  IOVIS  |  CVSTOS (a footnote says that Iovis is the old nominative form).  RIC II, p. 28, no. 124 b (legend to l.).  The other Iovis Custos are of Titus.  This coin is too light and does not look or feel like silver, but it certainly looks ancient.  Mattingly & Sydenham say that the hybrids are often plated, and this is not a hybrid, since (?) neither die is dated, but it certainly seems to be plated, and for this date it is far underweight.
In any case, half-draped but probably resting on his scepter and pouring a libation from a patera.  The almost "wet" silky drapery is quite Hadrianic, being in a Hellenistic manner (and, in my opinion, the nicest part of the statue).  The woollen cloth, no matter how fine, from which an himation (for this is no kind of a toga but drapery derived from Greek half-draped statues) was made would never hang and cling in this way.  It is not meant as (so to speak) whole cloth.

 It is hard to make out to what extent the hand is restored; certainly the fingers are mended.

In 1968 (the slide masks are dated) a local chapter of the Archaeological Institute of America first had a lovely time with a project and, I'm sure, with a real banquet, and dressed themselves in well researched Greek and Roman garments.  Everyone bought the set of slides at the annual meeting, for teaching as well as for a good cause.  I think the credit goes to North Carolina.  Luckily I scanned the slides before they could fade too badly.  This man is wearing the shorter Republican toga, but I chose it for its colors and because it approximates the pose of Hadrian.  ROMAN MEN DID NOT GO WITHOUT A TUNIC!

The 3/4 side view was taken to show that this is a really good statue: its contrapposto works all round and the body believably continues within the drapery.  The divine torso, also, has well understood classical musculature, and it is just heavy enough for a mature deity or emperor.  By the time we get to Canova, of course, George Washington and even Napaoleon looked ridiculous when sculptors were called upon to deify national heroes in these terms.

The drapery that falls from over his left forearm is suddenly very extravagantly Hellenistic.  I have always wondered whether Hadrian ordered, or relished, or knew about this burst of exuberance (for I would not think that any emperor personally inspected any one of the numerous standard-type portraits set up for him, though Hadrian surely would have ordered and relished the Furietti centaurs and other sculptures at Tivoli).  I am not a specialist in Roman portraits, and obtaining good photos of more than the mug shots is not easy.  I used to wish I were European and could just take the train and go to all the museums when I needed to.  I wish our cast collections in America also didn't have just the same things over and over.  I wish Google Images, for that matter, would not fall into the provincial rut.

It was probably Cornelius Vermeule or Dietrich von Bothmer who provided the dating, AD 127, for this portrait of Hadrian, and I shall try to find the answer.  It has a type of archaizing curls, somewhat modified, and facial proportions that themselves suggest such a dating (and certainly make laughable what the person who composed the "sculpted from life in 127 A.D."—Roman emperors and their families had model types, like the portraits of the Queen of England on her postage stamps, done more or less from life, as needed.  The portraits on Imperial coins likewise.  Hadrian probably chose those archaizing curls on his brow, but it wasn't how his hair grew, surely.

I have put off posting the New Iberia installation of Hadrian, because I wanted to verify that it went to Japan, because I wanted to check what kind of marble it is (it looks Italian, but exposure to weather made it hard to be sure), because I thought I ought to find something like a proper publication of it (or even the sale catalogue).
If anyone reading this knows, please tell us.  As it is, I'll post what I have.
Finally, I am so sorry not to have gotten back to New Iberia again, while I could find him there.
Sold at Christie's, NYC, in 2008, for more than $900,000.  The restorations (old in their own right, so part of 18c art history) were not altered.  

P.S. Seen in ForumAncientCoins:  this cameo shows the statuary type that the ex-New Iberia Hadrian used.