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NYC – Metropolitan Museum of Art – Bust of Emperor Marcus Aurelius
Image by wallyg
Marble portrait of Marcus Aurelius
Roman, Antonine period, A.D. 161-180
The bust exemplifies Marcus Aurelius’ image as the perfect ruler, the "philosopher king." His face projects maturity, serenity, and wisdom, underlined by his long beard in the tradition of Greek philosophers. But he also wears a military tunic and cloak, which reflect his active role as commander-in-chief. He spent many years during the latter part of his reign on campaign in central Europe defending the Danube frontier against several different barbarian tribes. IT was during these campaigns that he wrote parts of the so called Meditations, a personal diary of his innermost thoughts, influenced by the teachings of his inntermost thoughts, influenced by the teachings of the Greek philosopher Epictetus. The bust is said to have been acquired in Rome by the Hon. James Barry Smith and was displayed at Marbury Hall in Cheshire, England, in 1776.
Anonymous Loan (L.2007.29)
The April 20, 2007 unveiling of the 30,000 square foot Greek and Roman Galleries concluded a 15-year project and returned thousands of works from the Museum’s permanent collection to public view. Over 5,300 objects, created between about 900 B.C. and the early fourth century A.D., are displayed, tracing the parallel stories of the evolution of Greek art in the Hellenistic period and the arts of southern Italy and Etruria and culminating in the rich and varied world of the Roman Empire from from the Late Republican period and the Golden Age of Augustus’s Principate to the conversion of Constantine the Great in A.D. 312. The centerpiece of the new installation is the Leon Levy and Shelby White Court, a monumental, peristyle cour court with a soaring two-story atrium that links the various galleries and themes.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art‘s permanent collection contains more than two million works of art from around the world. It opened its doors on February 20, 1872, housed in a building located at 681 Fifth Avenue in New York City. Under their guidance of John Taylor Johnston and George Palmer Putnam, the Met’s holdings, initially consisting of a Roman stone sarcophagus and 174 mostly European paintings, quickly outgrew the available space. In 1873, occasioned by the Met’s purchase of the Cesnola Collection of Cypriot antiquities, the museum decamped from Fifth Avenue and took up residence at the Douglas Mansion on West 14th Street. However, these new accommodations were temporary; after negotiations with the city of New York, the Met acquired land on the east side of Central Park, where it built its permanent home, a red-brick Gothic Revival stone "mausoleum" designed by American architects Calvert Vaux and Jacob Wrey Mold. As of 2006, the Met measures almost a quarter mile long and occupies more than two million square feet, more than 20 times the size of the original 1880 building.
In 2007, the Metropolitan Museum of Art was ranked #17 on the AIA 150 America’s Favorite Architecture list.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art was designated a landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1967. The interior was designated in 1977.
National Historic Register #86003556