Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Bust of the Emperor Hadrian (76-138 A.D.) 1700s

 Eighteenth Century after the Antique 

Bust of the Emperor Hadrian (76-138 A.D.),  Eighteenth Century after the Antique
18th Century
with socle 22 3/4" 58cm
The acquisition of classical sculpture had, as much as the collection of fine old and modern paintings, been an essential pursuit of the cultured gentleman since the Renaissance, and great collections, such as that of the Earl of Arundel, now preserved at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, had brought a familiarity with these works to those who may not themselves have travelled in Italy.

By the eighteenth century, journeys across the Alps were more frequently undertaken, and gentlemen set about obtaining not only -increasingly rare- examples of antique originals, but spirited and accomplished replicas such as this, which would be brought back to England as appropriate adornments for a sculpture gallery or a library.

The Emperor Hadrian would be a suitable figure to appear in a British gentleman''s hall, and his career was viewed in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as a model for the soldiers and rulers of an empire. The young Hadrian was made the ward of the then-emperor Trajan, and distinguished himself as a commander and as an administrator. When chosen to succeed to the throne he embarked upon a vigorous and judicious government. Abandoning the aggressive policy of Trajan in Asia, he withdrew to the boundary of the Euphrates in Palestine. In 132 he put down the insurrection of the Hebrew leader Bar Koba with great severity. Hadrian traveled extensively in the empire, stabilizing government and adorning the cities. In Germany he built great protective walls, and in Britain he erected the wall that bears his name, marking the farthest extent of the Roman Empire to the North and helping to protect the civilized province of Britannia from the depredations of Pictish tribesmen.He was also an enthusiastic patron of the arts.
Philip Mould Ltd, 18-19 Pall Mall, London, SW1Y 5LU.Copyright Philip Mould Ltd.