One of Ancient Rome’s most stunning bronze portraits will be on display at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts until May 1, 2013.
Known as “The Capitoline Brutus,” the larger-than-life-sized head of a bearded man, with its original eyes made of ivory and glass, is considered one of the earliest examples of portraiture and has remained an icon of Roman art since its discovery in Rome in the 16th century.
“Italy is known for its great tradition of art,” said U.S. Representative Michael Capuano during the unveiling ceremony that took place at the MFA on January 18. “It’s also an opportunity for me to celebrate my heritage.”
The statue, on loan from the Capitoline Museums in Rome, will be on view in the Roman Court Gallery in the Museum’s Behrakis Art of the Ancient World Wing through May 1. Visiting Masterpieces: The Capitoline Brutus is presented under the auspices of the President of the Italian Republic’s “2013 – Year of Italian Culture in the United States” and “Dream of Rome” initiatives, designed to enhance the close bonds between Italy and the United States.
“With this loan we kick off the Year of Italian Culture in the United States,” said Consul General of Italy in Boston, Giuseppe Pastorelli. “I also hope this is the first event in a long-lasting cooperation between the cities of Rome and Boston.”
The loan of The Capitoline Brutus continues the MFA’s ongoing relationship with Italy. In September 2006, the MFA transferred 13 antiquities to Italy and signed an agreement with the Italian Ministry of Culture marking the beginning of a new era of cultural exchange.
“We are pleased to participate in this opportunity to highlight Italy’s rich cultural heritage and its many significant contributions,” said Malcolm Rogers, Ann and Graham Gund Director at the MFA. “This important loan is yet another example of the Museum’s longstanding relationship with the Italian government, which has allowed us to share extraordinary masterpieces with our visitors.”
“It is fair to say that the history of the Roman Republic begins with one Brutus and ends with another Brutus,” said Christine Kondoleon, the MFA’s George and Margo Behrakis Senior Curator of Greek and Roman Art. “Visitors to the MFA will be able to see not only this bust of L. Junius Brutus, but also the rare coin featuring his descendent, M. Junius Brutus, who famously assassinated Julius Caesar on March 15, 44 BC, on view in the new Michael C. Ruettgers Gallery for Ancient Coins. This important bronze from Rome will provide an unmistakable visual link among the MFA’s Early Renaissance, Classical art, and coin galleries.”