This is a marble portrait bust of Marcus Aurelius; it originates from Rome, sculpted in the Antonine period, ca. A.D. 161-169 and was purchased by the Musée du Louvre in 1807; it is currently on loan by the Department of Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities from the Musée du Louvre though a cast is still on display at the museum in Paris, France.
This bust was discovered in an imperial villa at Acqua Traversa near Rome in 1674. It forms part of a cache of marbles that included thirteen portraits of the Antonine emperors Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus. The portraits are of the highest quality, as befits their setting, but it is hard to understand why so many, some of which are virtually identical, were found together.
This portrait exemplified 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 his reign on campaign in central Europe devending the Danube frontier against barbarian invaders. 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 the Greek philosopher Epictetus.
This object is part of "Scan The World". Scan the World is a non-profit initiative introduced by MyMiniFactory, through which we are creating a digital archive of fully 3D printable sculptures, artworks and landmarks from across the globe for the public to access for free. Scan the World is an open source, community effort, if you have interesting items around you and would like to contribute, email [email protected] to find out how you can help.