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Bust of Hadrian

Italian School,

LL 161

About this object

This sculpture of the Roman Emperor Hadrian (born AD 76, died AD 138) made in the 17th Century. It was possibly inspired by an original antique bust now held in the Vatican Museums. From AD 117 to his death, Hadrian ruled an empire that stretched from Scotland to the Sahara. The presence of a full beard on this bust makes it easier to identify as being of Hadrian. Hadrian was the first Roman Emperor to wear a full beard. It is thought that this was a mark of his devotion to Greek art and culture.

Hadrian married Vibia Sabina in about AD 100. However, we know from ancient sources that he also had several relationships with other men. Hadrian spent much of the early years as Emperor touring his vast empire. It was during these travels that he met the beautiful youth, Antinous and became enamored with him. Antinous became his beloved and accompanied him on his travels. Hadrian visited Egypt in AD 130, along with both his wife and Antinous, and embarked on a voyage up the River Nile. On 24 October Antinous drowned in the river. It led to a public outpouring of grief on the part of Hadrian.

Object specifics

  • Artist(s)
    Italian School (Italian, born:unknown, died:unknown)
  • Date
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Materials
  • Measurements
    87 cm
  • Physical description
    Marble bust of a man with full beard.
  • Related people
    Italian School (Artist/maker); George Leon (Previous owner); William Hesketh Lever (Previous owner); M Harris and Sons (Previous owner)
  • Credit line
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Location
    Lady Lever Art Gallery, North Rotunda
  • Collection
    From the Lady Lever Art Gallery collections


Previous owners

  • William Hesketh Lever

    Owned from: 1923-02-23
    How acquired: brought from M. Harris and Sons on 23 February 1923 for £30:0:0
    Owned until: ?-
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
  • M Harris and Sons

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1923-02-23
    Disposal method: sold to Lord Lever on February 1923 for £30:0:0
  • George Leon

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1923
    Disposal method: sold through the dealer M. Harris and Sons to Lord Lever on February 1923 for £30:0:0
Object view = Fine Art
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