The Uffizi got a precious marble bust from the second half of the 1st century. BC

The Uffizi Gallery enriches its already large collection of portraits from Roman times. An expensive marble bust from Julius Caesar’s time enters the collection.

A marble bust dating back to the second half of the 1st century. BC, by an important public figure, is the last work to enrich the collection of Roman portraits of the Uffizi galleries, among the largest collections of this type in Europe. The name is unknown, but the man must certainly have been an admirer of the most vital and innovative portrait currents of his time.

The wrinkled expression, the tense neckline, the tousled locks of hair that frame a perfect oval in Greek style: these are the hallmarks of the work, which was delivered by the Ministry of Culture to the Uffizi, where it is now on display on the second floor of the Galleria delle Statues and Paintings. The main setting is dynamic and powerful, the sculptural style creates strong shadow areas on the surfaces that highlight the dramatic effects of the expression: They are elements inspired by Hellenistic portraits of Egypt and Syria. It is not unlikely that the character depicted was a wealthy merchant, accustomed to traveling across the eastern Mediterranean and therefore a connoisseur of Greek culture. The work, an important testimony to the turbulent years of Julius Caesar and Octavian, was for sale; was reviewed by Michele Bueno, an archaeologist from the Florentine Inspectorate of the Ministry of Culture, who exercised the right of first refusal by acquiring it for state inheritance. An old treasure has thus been returned for the benefit of all in the Florentine museum.

In the meantime is European Archeology Days: In addition to this acquisition, the galleries participate in it, ‘on air’ on their Facebook page, and present a project curated by Novella Lapini And Silvia Barlacchi with advice from Laura Buccinodedicated to the hairstyles of famous empresses: from Livia, Augustus’ wife and traditional model, to Princesses Flavie, symbol of the style of the new dynasty passing through Faustina Maggiore, wife of Antonino Pio and aunt of Marcus Aurelius.

The initiative will therefore provide an opportunity to approach the ancient world in an untraditional way, following one of the most common practices of personal care, the hairstyle that was considered in ancient Rome and still today a real means of communication. Hands and faces shown in the videos belong to students in grades 3H and 3I at the Elsa Morante-Ginori Conti Higher Education Institute (Nicolodi Institute) from Florence; the path is completed by an ironic debate in spoken Latin, with Novella Lapini And Alessandro Muscillo to give voice to the old busts of Ovid and Sappho, about the central role of hair in female beauty.

“We are celebrating these European Archaeological Days in a ‘classic’ way,” said the Uffizi director. Eike Schmidtexhibits an important work, which a few days ago became public and “anti-classical” heritage, dedicated some videos to the creation of hairstyles of the most famous Roman empresses. The research, conducted by high school students led by Uffizi scholars, brings antiquity to this day, and invites everyone to look with new and curious eyes at works that would otherwise be the powers of the experts “.

All information at

The Uffizi got a precious marble bust from the second half of the 1st century. BC

Windows on art

If you liked this article or found it interesting,
Sign up for our free newsletter!
No spam, just one Sunday issue plus any extras to keep you updated on all our news!

Your weekly reading about the whole art world


Leave a Comment