David's painting of the Roman Emperor Lucius Verus
In this blog post, Chrissy Partheni, Curator of Classical Antiquities, tells us how National Museums Liverpool's sculpture collection inspired art student David Brown:
"Museum curators are in a constant dialogue with people and we are always keen to explore how collections can inspire people with different skills.
Recently I was approached by David Brown, a Level 3 City and Guilds Art and Design student who wanted to know more about a sculptural bust that he thought he saw in World Museum. The bust is actually on show in the Sculpture Gallery at the Walker Art Gallery and it one of the pieces from the collection of Henry Blundell.
Some pieces from this most famous collection are on show in World Museum’s Ancient World gallery, others in the Sculpture Gallery at the Walker Art Gallery and quite a large number are in storage. I sent David information about the bust and David was keen to be able to research more about the life of the Roman Emperor Lucius Verus.
David was inspired to paint the bust and wrote to us afterwards. He said: "This is my fourth year of art. I had not done any art since I left school in 1972. I saw the bust when I was on a visit to Liverpool to see friend at LIPA in June 2014 and decided that I would like to attempt to paint it.
"Many of my portraits have been painted in Payne's Grey, however I chose to use Indian Red and am delighted with the results. I am looking forward to visiting the Walker Art Gallery again in May 2015, as I found it a most interesting gallery."
In the Ince Blundell Catalogue of Male Portraits by Jane Fejfer, published by Liverpool University Press in 1997, it is mentioned that Blundell commissioned the bust in 1776 from Carlo Albacini as modern art. It’s a copy of the colossal Lucius Verus portrait originally in the Villa Borghese and now in the Louvre.
Henry Blundell noted in his account of the sculptures from his collection that this Roman Emperor (161- 169 AD) obtained many victories against the Parthians, but his private character was bad and some writers say that he was murdered at the age of 39. He was also a big spender.
The Borghese bust served as a model for many colossal copies in English country houses such as in Chatsworth, Ickworth and Margam Park."
From 24 May onwards (various days), we'll have some drawing materials available in the Sculpture Gallery at the Walker Art Gallery for visitors to try their hand at sketching some of our amazing works. Details here.