Dream of Rome Capitoline Brutus
January 18 - May 1, 2013
Boston Museum of Fine Arts
As part of the Dream of Rome initiative (masterpieces from ancient Rome in major U.S. museums), Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts hosts one of the most previous works from the collections of Rome’s Capitoline Museums, the Capitoline Brutus, one of the most ancient bronzes from the Roman era.
Conserved in the Conservator’s Apartment Hall of Triumphs of the Capitoline Museum, the magnificent bronze bust was donated to the Roman museum by Cardinal Pio de Carpi in 1564.
The bust depicts Lucius Junius Brutus, one of the first Roman consuls: cropped beard, hair falling irregularly over the forehand, sculpted cheeks and razor sharp eyes convey an aspect of extreme pride.
Despite the extraordinary expression of the Brutus, one of the most ancient Roman bronzes, only the head is original, and likely it was originally part of a larger statue since lost.
The interpretation that identifies the bust with Lucius Junius Brutus, the mythical founder of the Roman Republic, results from a comparison of the bust with the etching on coins from 59 to 43 BC commissioned by his descendant, Marcus Junius Brutus, Caesar’s assassin.
This attribution is debated however. According to some, the person depicted could be from a later period.
The exhibit in Boston provides the U.S. public with the opportunity to admire the extraordinary force, as well as the expression of gravitas and tension typical of the Roman nobility.