The Braschi Antinous

Photogallery

The Braschi Antinous
The Braschi Antinous
Round Hall

This colossal sculpture was found in excavations in 1792-1793 in an area presumed to have been the villa of Hadrian at Praeneste, today Palestrina. It was restored by Giovanni Pierantoni and exhibited in the Palazzo Braschi in Rome until 1844, when it was acquired for the Lateran Museum, and finally moved to the Vatican Museums, where you see it today. Antinous was the Emperor Hadrian's (117-138 A.D.) favourite who drowned in the waters of the Nile in 130 A.D. and was immediately made a god by the Emperor. Is this statue, which dates from the years immediately following his death, Antinous is shown in a syncretic Dionysus-Osiris pose. On his head is a crown of leaves and ivy berries, and a diadem which at the top would originally have held a cobra (uraeus) or a lotus flower, but which the modern restorers have replaced with a sort of pine cone. The Dionysian attributes of the thyrsus and the mystical chest are also modern additions.