Emperor Augustus and other casts at the Ashmolean Museum

In our recent brief visit to the Ashmolean Museum we took in the Cast Gallery. Mighty impressive it is to. Being a collection, formed originally in the 18th & 19th centuries, of casts of classical Greek and Roman sculpture used as teaching aids for students of archaeology and art history.

Particularly striking are the two casts of the Emperor Augustus, taken from a statue in the Villa of Livia at Prima Porta near Rome c.20BC, now in the Vatican Museum. The Museum’s description of them is, [click on images to enlarge]

Augustus stands in a classical pose and stretches out his right arm in a gesture of address, as if talking to the crowds of Rome or his legions wearing a cuirass and paludamentum – the outfit of a Roman general.

Remains of paint preserved on the surface of the [original] marble indicate that the statue was once richly painted, specifically with blue for details of the cuirass and leather straps, red for the mantle and tunic, and brown for the hair.

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